7th April, 2021.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt has joined international decision makers, tourism leaders and investors in this year’s virtual summit of International Tourism and Investment Conference. The theme for 2021 is: Invest, Rebuild and Restart the African Travel and Tourism Sector.
The two-day virtual summit which is the aftermath of the restraining effects of the worldwide vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 aimed at uniting the broad spectrum of stakeholders of African and global tourism industries in order to tackle the key challenges that are cropping up in global tourism. There was special focus on investment opportunities in the African continent.
Giving her contribution, Dr. Memunatu Pratt pointed out that because of the experience Sierra Leone gained during the Ebola, the country has been able to contain the COVID pandemic and that Sierra Leone was the last country in West Africa to register a positive case of the corona virus. She stated that the government was able to support the tourism sector by providing safety net of three months salary to a number of hotels. She mentioned that the Government of Sierra Leone was taking COVID restrictions very seriously, noting that the Ministry is doing a number of reforms that have to do with hospitality standards.
She maintained that in the midst of COVID, the Tourism Ministry has been able to increase its domestic tourism revenues and that people were now visiting tourist sites more than ever before, with particular reference to the Tobanda Beach in the South which has just been commissioned by the President of Sierra Leone, HE Julius Maada Bio.
She said that a lot of work needs to be done at the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS Level to bring tourism to the forefront, while maintaining that there are a lot of barriers that are preventing regional tourism, connectivity and coordination. She admonished that such barriers call for an urgent address.