The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, alongside Line Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), in a significant milestone for the tourism sector, convened a virtual meeting with Keios Consultants on August 31, 2023. The purpose of this meeting was to validate the draft diagnostic study of the strategic plan for sustainable tourism. The session, held at the Ministry’s Conference Hall on Kingharman Road, Freetown, marks a crucial step towards rejuvenating and fortifying the country’s tourism industry.
The Sierra Leonean Government, under the Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project (SLEDP), initiated the development of a 10-year national Strategic Plan for Sustainable Tourism. This ambitious strategy aims to comprehensively address the diverse range of challenges and opportunities facing the tourism sector. Within this framework, a five-year implementation action plan will be outlined, complete with priority activities, timelines, realistic budgets, and designated implementation responsibilities. The diagnostic report, discussed during this meeting, represents the initial phase of this strategic planning endeavor, focusing on a comprehensive assessment of the current status, challenges, and opportunities within the tourism sector.
Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Kadijatu Grace Kamara, extended a warm welcome to all participants, expressing gratitude on behalf of Minister Tunis for the invaluable diagnostic report. She emphasized the importance of having a well-crafted strategic plan that can propel Sierra Leone to success in both domestic and international tourism.
Elaborating on the significance of the diagnostic study, Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh, highlighted that this study serves as a cornerstone of the strategic plan. He explained that, leading up to this stage, the consultants engaged extensively with the Ministry and MDAs in the plan’s development. They also conducted assessments of key tourist and cultural sites across the country. Jalloh added that the draft diagnostic study report had been sent to MDAs with the expectation that they would provide substantial input.
During the presentation of the draft diagnostic study report, lead consultant Mike Fabricius, participating remotely via Zoom, provided insights into the strategy’s development within the Sierra Leonean context. He covered aspects such as the legal policy and environment, the situation analysis, and summarized success factors for sustainable tourism growth. The meeting concluded with an interactive and participatory session involving all stakeholders.
Sierra Leone’s commitment to sustainable tourism, as evidenced by this strategic planning effort, signifies a positive step toward unlocking the immense potential of its tourism industry. The collaboration between MDAs and Keios Consultants underscores the nation’s determination to create a thriving and resilient tourism sector for the future.