By Mohamed Faray Kargbo
The Vice President of Sierra Leone has launched the Adopt-A-Booth Project.
Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh admonished users to ‘use the booths to sell good things’ while disclosing that he felt honoured to be part of the rebranding revolution of the tourism industry.
The event which was done at the Family Kingdom, Aberdeen on Thursday 13th September, 2018 attracted key stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Initiated by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board, the project will not only transform the beach front but also provide jobs for youths and women.
“We want businesses to adopt booths to specifically support youths and women who may not have the resources to construct such booths.” remarked Memunatu Pratt, the Minister of Tourism.
Concerned about the deteriorating status of Sierra Leone’s beaches, she assured that the project would link businesses to the creative sectors such that the country’s beaches would be sights-to-behold.
Haphazard, unplanned and unregulated booths have occupied the beach front for far too long.
Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyer promised to partner with the Tourism Ministry to make Freetown an attractive tourist destination. “The beaches we take for granted, take the breath of tourists away.” she concluded.
Once a preferred tourist destination, international tourist arrivals dropped considerably following the outbreak of civil war in Sierra Leone.
“We have an opportunity to rebrand Sierra Leone but we need to cooperate and mobilize the key players.” Deputy Minister of Information, Solomon Jamiru averred.
Fatmata Abe-Osagie, Acting General Manager of the National Tourist Board says there were four categories of support: the Diamond which goes for Le 50m, the Gold-Le 33m, the Silver-Le 19m and general donation for the project.
Adopting-a-booth to improve livelihoods can be a daunting task for Aberdeen community’s poor youths and women.
The launch of the project is a dream come true for the Parliamentary Representative of Constituency 131, Hon Rahman Coker.
Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh called for private public collaboration to alleviate the plight of adopting such booths stressing that ‘tourism is one of the growth sectors.’
“This is a laudable idea, we will make the necessary legislation to improve tourism and develop Lumley beach to international standards.” says Hon Tom Issic Tucker, the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
Few institutions like the Rokel Commercial Bank, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Ministry of Information and Communications have already shown commitment to adopt a booth.
With unwavering political commitment and a multifaceted approach to development, tourism could once again be the engine of economic growth in Sierra Leone.