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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

International Confidence in Sierra Leone Soars as Budapest-Bamako Rally Ends in Freetown

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, alongside its affiliated agencies including the National Tourist Board (NTB) and Monument and Relics Commission, extended a warm welcome to the culmination of the Budapest-Bamako Freetown Challenge. The event, which saw the participation of 690 individuals with 300 vehicles and motorbikes, marked a significant moment for Sierra Leone’s tourism sector.

Amidst the participants, three Sierra Leoneans—Drizilik, Ibrahim Cole, and Mohamed Waritay—used the rally as a platform to raise awareness about autism, a cause close to their hearts. Another Sierra Leonean, Akiwumi Attawia, also partook in the rally, adding local flavor to the international event. He is among the second batch of 194 rally participants slated to arrive in Freetown on March 4th, 2024.

The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police, ensured a seamless transition for the participants, escorting them from various border points to the finish line at Gigibonta Car Park, Lumley Beach, Freetown. Along the journey, the rally convoy made a humanitarian stop, donating educational materials to REC Primary School at Bureh Beach.

In a vibrant ceremony at the finish line, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Nabeela Farida Tunis, expressed her gratitude to the participants, highlighting the significance of their presence in Sierra Leone.

She emphasized that hosting the event for the third consecutive time underscores the country’s exceptional hospitality and conducive environment.

“We are delighted to welcome participants to Freetown and commend their efforts in promoting tourism and cultural exchange,” stated Minister Tunis. She also applauded the Sierra Leonean participants for championing the cause of autism awareness on a global platform.
Andrew Szabo, the founder of the Budapest-Bamako Freetown Rally, echoed Minister Tunis’ sentiments, affirming Sierra Leone’s status as a “special, fantastic gem” in West Africa. Szabo hinted at future collaborations between the rally and Sierra Leone, aiming to make Freetown a permanent fixture in the event’s itinerary.

The ceremony concluded with a poignant moment as a plaque was unveiled in memory of Solboch Petery, a Hungarian rally participant who tragically passed away during last year’s event.

The Budapest-Bamako Freetown Challenge aligns with President Bio’s vision of positioning Sierra Leone as a premier tourist destination, fostering cultural exchange, attracting foreign investment, and generating employment opportunities. Furthermore, the rally serves as a testament to the international community’s confidence in Sierra Leone’s potential.

As the event draws to a close, Sierra Leone looks forward to leveraging this momentum to further bolster its tourism sector and strengthen its ties with the global community.

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