FITUR, 25th January 2024. As the international tourism industry convened at the renowned FITUR 2024, Sierra Leone’s tourism sector stood out on the event’s second day with a series of strategic meetings aimed at bolstering its presence on the global stage. The West African nation’s delegation, demonstrating a blend of readiness and grace, engaged in well-organized dialogues with influential industry partners, signaling a promising leap forward in its tourism development.
Sierra Leone, a country rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage, has long sought to expand its reach within the international tourism market. The efforts at FITUR 2024, where over 150 countries gathered, have shown that the nation is not only serious about attracting visitors but also committed to sustainable practices, a pivot that aligns with the growing global demand for responsible travel.
One of the day’s highlights was the meeting between Sierra Leone’s tourism delegation and Lola Mellado, the product manager from ICARION. With a vast portfolio encompassing more than 1,000 itineraries in 140 countries, ICARION’s dedication to sustainable tourism resonates with Sierra Leone’s vision. Mellado emphasized that for Sierra Leone to be featured in ICARION’s offerings, a sustainable approach is not just preferred but essential, underscoring the importance of environmental and cultural preservation in today’s travel industry.
After a brief intermission, representatives from HOTEL BEDS, including Florian Blois and a colleague, joined the discussion to explore the integration of Sierra Leone’s accommodations into their booking system. This potential collaboration promises to generate increased leads for local tourism businesses, enhancing the country’s visibility and accessibility to international travelers.
The momentum continued with a meeting with Mr. Ruben Torres, the Development Director from LUZOTOUR. Torres, an expert tour operator with origins in Morocco and a history of charter flight services, has now turned his expertise toward Africa. His keen interest in Sierra Leone was evident, indicating a strong vote of confidence in the country’s tourism sector from a seasoned industry professional.
As the day progressed, Mr. Adolfo Alonso, the Strategic Partnerships Account Manager from DESTINA, took the lead in engaging the Sierra Leonean team on the prospect of promoting Sierra Leonean accommodations to their extensive client base in Spain. This interaction opened up a crucial European market for Sierra Leone’s hospitality sector, fostering a bridge between the two regions.
The day concluded with a meeting with Maryana Marcano, a tourism specialist from EXOTICCA, an online tour operator known for crafting sophisticated and enticing travel itineraries. Marcano expressed interest in developing unique travel packages that would showcase Sierra Leone’s allure, targeting a special market niche that seeks out-of-the-ordinary experiences.
Sierra Leone’s presence and proactive engagement at FITUR 2024 not only reflect the nation’s dedication to developing its tourism sector but also its commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism practices. The strategic meetings held on the second day of the event have set the groundwork for future collaborations and have positioned Sierra Leone as a rising star in the global tourism landscape. As the country moves forward with these partnerships, the promise of increased international exposure and tourism growth shines brightly on the horizon for this vibrant and culturally rich destination.
The attendees of the meeting were high-level officials and stakeholders in the tourism industry, including:
– Mr. Mohamed Jalloh, the Director of Tourism from the Ministry of Tourism, who plays a significant role in shaping the country’s tourism policies and strategic direction.
– Mrs. Fatmata Mida Carew, the General Manager (GM) of the National Tourist Board, who is responsible for overseeing tourism promotion and marketing within the country and external.
– Mr. Francis Kaifala, the Chairman of the Monuments and Relics Commission, tasked with the preservation and promotion of Sierra Leone’s cultural heritage sites.
– Lucinda Kargbo, the Marketing Manager, whose role involve marketing and promoting Sierra Leone as a desirable tourist destination.
– Mr. Ishmael Abu Kamara, the Deputy Director of Culture, has vested interest in incorporating cultural elements into tourism initiatives.
– Annmarie Kamara, the Administrative Manager of the Monuments and Relics Commission, involved in the administrative side of preserving and promoting historical sites.
Additionally, various travel and tour companies, including Tourism is Life Tours, Best Travel Solutions, Kallon Travel, and Tasso Ecotourism, were managing a promotional booth. These entities have been responsible for engaging with potential tourists and partners, showcasing what Sierra Leone has to offer in terms of tourism experiences.
The report notes that the booth captured the attention of 352 stand visitors on the first day, indicating a substantial interest in Sierra Leone as a travel destination.
This level of engagement is a positive sign for the country’s tourism industry, suggesting that their presence at the event was well-received and generated curiosity among the event attendees.
Communications and P.R. NTB