By John Marrah
The Ministry of Tourism has organised a special Cocktail to hold discussions with key stakeholders in the tourism sector to find ways they can raise the required revenue needed for the advancement of Tourism in Sierra Leone and get the participation of the key players. The ceremony, which was held at the Sierra Leone National Museum, was attended by representatives from Nigeria, the Sierra Leone Ambassador to China, Earnest Domahina, Ministry, Department and Agencies and tour operators.
According to the Minister, the transition has been difficult, considering the fact that there were no proper governance structures and tourism was non-existent but she says she is determined to change the narrative, address the challenges and achieve her goals in line with the New Direction manifesto.
The Minister further noted that despite the difficulties during the transition, her Ministry has been able to achieve a lot in ten months.
She said the Ministry, through the support of government, has participated in four successful international tourism festivals and exhibitions in countries wich a very popular tourist destinations across the world, namely; Spain, United Kingdom, France and Germany.
“Because of this, we have been able to move Sierra Leone’s tourism by consolidating what we have and what is needed to get the country on track when it comes to tourism” she affirmed.
She also revealed that the Ministry has done a lot in the area of ensuring sustainable electricity and water supply to the hospitality sector, while at the same time, has negotiated and reduced high the cost of the EIA license for hotels among other charges.
Dr. Pratt concluded by thanking development partners including The Place Resort, whom she said, have done lots in moving tourism through hospitality and local tourism, admist numerous challenges.
In the area of promotion for domestic tourism, she said her Ministry is calling on the private sector to support the industry particularly in the area of familiarization tours and media tours so as to transform the entire sector in order to be able to roll out tourism activities. She said the Ministry is also embarking on decentralized system of tourism that would establish the structures in chiefdoms and districts, respectively.