The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, with support from the World Bank, on the 28th February, 2023 engaged stakeholders in the public and private sector during a one day consultative meeting on Tourism Investment promotion. The meeting was held at Njala venue, Lumley Beach Road, Freetown.
Rationale of the engagement, which was spearheaded by a tourism consultant, was to work closely with the Ministry to identify and promote Sierra Leone’s top bankable market driven tourism product development opportunities, attract and secure foreign direct investment and domestic investment to help transform Sierra Leone into one of the most competitive tourism destinations in West Arica in the process.
The project includes the development of an investment portfolio and marketing collateral featuring the top 15 tourism investment opportunities, the completion of feasibility studies for the top five investment opportunities. The focus is on sustainable tourism development with emphasis on eco-tourism projects and activities that benefit local communities and protect the natural environment.
Speaking to stakeholders in the public and private sector , the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt said the consultation is geared towards putting the public and private sector together so that there will be a process were they exchange ideas and views that look at investment opportunities in Sierra Leone. She added that her Ministry has been running around the country to situate tourism by ground laying activities in International marketing, infrastructure, legal environment, tourism governance, hospitality development, entertainment all in one package to put forward a very strong relationship with all the MDAs, Civil Societies and the Media Institutions.
She maintained that they are now at the stage where the ground work has been done and that the takeoff stage is about implementing all the laws and policies and that their biggest goal is to increase the investment in the tourism sector.
Minister Pratt added that with support from the World Bank, in the next 18 to 24 months, places like Leicester peak, Takugama, River number 2 beach, Bureh beach, Banana Island, Wara Wara and others would have been developed and will attract more Tourists in the country. She added that they are getting themselves ready to build investors confidence, build private sector promotion and also ensure that they send a loud and clear international message to the world that Sierra Leone in not only open for Tourism but also open for business. She said that the new airport is the biggest game changer that will give Tourists confidence to come to Sierra Leone. Dr. Pratt puts that they were there to look at investment opportunities and that they have a professional Consultant who is ready to take them through the process.
The Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh presented the areas of investment in the tourism sector featuring it unique selling points and also highlighted the numerous strides the Ministry has made in repositioning the sector to conform with contemporary global tourism requirements.
The Consultant, John Perrottet in his presentation of Building Tourism Investment in Sierra Leone said for Sierra Leone to become a competitive tourism investment destination, engagements with the public and private sector are important, hence he was thrilled to be part of the session. He said the project was a wonderful opportunity for Sierra Leone to appeal to investors to invest in Sierra Leone. His presentation focused on what is needed to attract tourism investment, the recipe for success and what makes a destination unique in luring tourists and investment opportunities.
Participants of the session including key stakeholders in the public and private sector gave their various contributions from their standpoints as to what they think is required for tourism investment in the tourism sector to blossom.