Freetown 5th February, 2019: The Hon. Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Tuesday 5th February, 2019 launched the country’s first Tourism In-Flight Traveltainment Magazine and also commissioned the first City Tourist Information Office at the National Museum, Pademba Road, Freetown.
Delivering the Keynote address, the Hon. Vice President
commended the Minister of Tourism, Mrs Memunatu Pratt and her staff for such a
laudable effort in giving the country’s Tourism sectors a facelift.
Tourism he said is one of the sectors they as a government
have been following because it is among one of the critical areas that the ‘New
direction’ government wants to use to diversify the country’s economy, move
Sierra Leone from a mineral dependent economy to a new area that they can tap
in for more additional resources for the development of the nation.
He said the Tourism industry is very closed to the new
administration and that it is a sector that the President wanted to see developed
in order to boost the country’s economy.
VP Jalloh stated that, he has no doubt that the Tourism
In-Flight Traveltainment Magazine and the Tourist Information Office are a critical
step in boosting the sector
He added that, it’s an indication that the tourism sector is
one of the sectors that the government of President Dr. Julius Maada Bio wanted
to move forward in order to make Sierra Leone more attractive to stimulate
economic growth, create job opportunities and make Sierra Leoneans themselves
enjoy the beauty of their country.
Dr Jalloh went on to state that, it is part of the ‘New
Direction’ drive to identify where they can spend additional resources to turn
around the country’s tourism sector as they believed it is one of the fastest
growing sectors in the world.
“When you look at the productive nature of the tourism
Sector and the critical innovations that are taking place in that sector and
what it could bring in terms of economic dividend, I believe Sierra Leone has
to tap into that sector.” He reiterated.
He maintained that, Sierra Leone has a lot to offer in the
area of attracting tourist and business people. The offers he said ranged from
wild life, parks, beaches to historical sites.
He furthered that, the tourism sector over the years has
been over shadowed by critical challenges that have no doubt want to slow down
the growth of the country that is capable of being on the map as a tourist
VP said as a government, they were able to take critical
steps to overcome some of those challenges.
He outlined some the critical steps they have taken in order
to boost the country’s Tourism sector. This he said among them, they were able
to implement a Regulatory Framework to ensure that the prices of Air tickets to
fly to Sierra Leone will become cheaper, the reduction of taxes on air travel
to ensure that flying to Sierra Leone will become reasonable and the
implementation of a visa on arrival.
He said that, they took up such ventures to attract more
tourists and business people to the country. In the area of infrastructure, he
said the government of President Bio is investing resources to develop
infrastructure and boost tourist sites in the country.
In her statement, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural
Affairs, Mrs Memunatu Pratt told the gathering that, as a ministry, they have
accomplished one of their milestones of rebranding, re-imaging Sierra Leone and
also, change the negative perception of the country and make tourism a
household name for people to know that tourism is alive and is being awakened
She said the big role of their recent effort has to do with
how they will inform, attract tourists and investors and how to get Sierra
Leoneans to understand domestics tourism.
To do this, she said, they realized that information is
vital hence the opening of the tourist Information office for people to get
more information on the sector and the country in particular.
She went on to talk on the sector’s partnerships with a lot
of Airline Agencies, Banks and international Agencies. She also talked on the
symbiotic relationship between Tourism and Aviation.
The Chairman of Civil Aviation, Mr Patrick Kaikai in his
statement said the launching of the magazine and commissioning of the Tourist
Information Office have a positive impact on the Aviation industry. Tourism and
Aviation, he said, complement each other and that they depend on each other
hence the need for collaboration and cooperation with each other.
The representative from the Private Sector, Managing
Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, Dr Ekundaya Walton Gilpin in his remarks
thanked the government of His Excellency for taking up such journey to empower,
renovate, give stories about tourism in Sierra Leone to the people around the
He said the initiative to launch the magazine and commission
the Tourist Information Office is an opportunity to start making people to be
attracted to Sierra Leone as the country has the human resource capacity to
nurture and give hope to Sierra Leoneans to make them understand that they have
a positive story to tell about the country out there.
The Secretary Board of Airlines, Mr Edgar Lacle in his
speech thanked the Minister and her team for such a positive move in the right
He called on Sierra
Leoneans to be proud of their country as the In-flight Magazine will be added
to the world list of In-Flight Magazines.
The magazine he said will help tourist and investors to
discover, identify the beauty, uniqueness, rich tradition, culture, development
strides, economy and politics of the country and her people.
Giving the purpose of the gathering, the Acting General
Manager of the National Tourist Board, Mrs. Fatmata Abe-Osagie said the
rationale behind the launching of the magazine and opening of the Tourist
Information Office was to rebrand Sierra Leone.
The Chairman of the ceremony, the Deputy Minister of
Information, Hon. Solomon Jamiru in his remarks, commended the Minister and her
team for such initiative.
He said today marks
another milestone in the history of the country, as the country has got a
magazine for tourists that will be placed in airlines, given to the country’s
embassies and other missions abroad, financial players and public sector
He said the magazine encapsulated very interesting readings, stories and information about the tourism sector in the country.