The Director-General of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority, Moses Tiffa Baio believes that the growth of the Tourism industry as a key economic diversification drive in Sierra Leone largely depends on the improvement of Air transport connectivity.
He made this disclosure during an exclusive interview with Newday Magazine at his office in Freetown. He noted that Tourism and Aviation are interwoven meaning they are inextricably linked in the development of a nation. In establishing their interdependence, he said that Tourism depends on air transportation for accessibility, while air transport industry depends on tourism for revenue generation.
“There is a huge potential for the growth of the two industries in Sierra Leone. Aviation is always linked with tourism as each industry relies on the other for growth. If we can open the domestic operations to complement the international routes, it can help create the desired growth and a shining future for Aviation and Tourism industries,” he said.
Mr. Baio also mentioned that boosting the Tourism sector is part of President Bio’s development agenda, as he considers it a main revenue generation drive that will provide jobs for Sierra Leoneans, promote cultural heritage of the country and reduce the economic over-reliance on the mining sector.
“The importance of Aviation to tourism development cannot be overemphasized, as aviation has been a focal point to the tourism industry. I acknowledge that there are challenges in the Aviation industry currently, but with the commitment of key players we will overcome the odds. An improvement in Aviation, especially domestic air transportation will enhance tourism movements; thus, the revival of domestic air transport will help achieve the goal of tourism in the country,” he added.
He concluded by noting that accessibility is the key variable that triggers growth in tourism, for without it, excursions are impossible. He emphasized that all hands must be on deck to create a win-win situation for both the aviation and tourism industries, adding that a boom in the Aviation industry is a possible boom in Tourism industry.