The event was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Hon. William I.K Robinson whilst welcoming all present explained the importance of the Workshop to the Ministry and the Nation as a whole. He encouraged the Press Attaches to represent the country in their different countries of postings and that they should asked the Ministry for whatever information they needed and not rely on social media information as they are also there to play advisory role to the Embassies on information that goes out and those that should not. He also stressed that they should always give out positive information to the public as this will attract more tourists into the country which will contribute to economic development.
The Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Hon. Mamadi Gobeh Kamara in her statement encouraged all Press attaches that when they arrived at their various posting destinations, they must ensure to represent the country well. She furthered that tourism is a tool for economic diversification and bridge for a lasting peace, and that tourism brings peoples together and it is the largest economic industry today. She added that it is the responsibility of all Press Attaches to promote the culture of their homeland and that this training will provide them with the requisite knowledge to represent the country.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Solomon Jamiru Esq, revealed that their Ministry has organized an orientation program for all appointed Press Attaches and that this workshop is to complement the previous orientation. He further noted that, the 8 clusters of the Medium Term National Development Plan must be mastered by all of them as they are key to government, and that as press Attaches they should take advantage of Economic Diplomacy, Foreign Relations that revolves around economic intelligence in their host country for potential investment in Sierra Leone. He also encouraged them to be conducting Visit Sierra Leone sessions in their Embassies as they are expected to have knowledge of key government priorities.
Madam Betty Milton one of the Press Attaches to Brussels, in her statement on behalf of her colleagues, expressed that as Press Attaches to the different destinations they would ensure that they remove the stigma of war, Ebola, Mudslide and Corona pandemic and replaced them with our beautiful beaches, monument and relics, the recent Mambo waterfall etc. she also stated that before the outbreak of Covid-19 they saw the giant step by the Ministry in rebranding the image of Sierra Leone as it is reflected by the 300 Danish tourists and the over 700 participants of the Budapest Bamako Rally with Sierra Leone as the end destination. She concluded that with this crop of Press Attaches the image of Sierra Leone would be portrayed in a positive light.
The Hon. Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt in her keynote address noted that the training is a fulfillment of the promises of the New Direction Manifesto by His Excellency the President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio by diversifying the economy through Tourism and rebranding the image of Sierra Leone internationally by engaging foreign service mission. She also stated that “when the right people, policy and investment decisions are made in the Tourism sector, exponential growth is assured”. She further mentioned the immense natural, cultural and historical resource we have as destination adding that the peace we have as a nation has ranked us among the most peaceful, stable and friendly nation to visit in the world.
The Minister encouraged the Attaches to rebrand the image of Sierra Leone abroad stressing that they should also explore opportunities for joint cooperation and cultural exchange programs between the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the private sector. She also assured them that “we will constantly use the social media platforms to create access to up-to-date information on tourism and culture.”
In conclusion, she stated that “as Press Attaches, you should tell the beautiful stories about Sierra Leone through the media and promote Sierra Leone as a tourist destination”