All Protocolls observed,
It is my pleasure and honour to welcome you, the Hon. Minister of Tourism, Dr. Memunatu Pratt and entourage to Berlin, as well as the organizer of this event, KPRN Network GMBH, and Ms. Hanna Kleber. Heartfelt welcome also to all the Press here in this Forum. – I wish us all very successful deliberations during this Press Conference.
In Africa, as well as in the developing world, Governments and Partners in development have accepted, not only the importance of tourism in economic development, but also the significant role it plays in the process of planning development – of the country. The new direction under which the present Government of Sierra Leone, under the Head of State, the President Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio who assumed Office about 10 months ago has put together a flagship programme among which a free quality education for primary and secondary school plays a pivotal role.
The flagship programme also includes, but not limited, to agriculture, health, energy and tourism. The government has thus mapped-out strategies for investments into the country and this includes investments into the tourism sector. The country is now politically stable, and safe. In fact Sierra Leone is considered the third safest country in Africa and its capital Freetown, the safest in West Africa.
Apart from the free quality education, the Government has established a single treasury account and a completion of a policy framework for expanding investments in agriculture, fisheries and tourism. There are also investment possibilities in health care and healthcare infrastructure and services.
There is a relentless fight against corruption with an internationally recognized anti-corruption index going up to 71% from 49%. A Commission of Enquiry is presently going on in Freetown to investigate officials of the past regime.
It has robust police force which does not carry guns in contrast to many other countries. There are laws guiding and protecting private property as well as, there is a fairly good functioning infrastructure like electricity roads. The international airport at Lungi is about to be expanded with modern hotels and an international conference centre. Plans are underway to construct a bridge linking Lungi, the airport with the City of Freetown. You see that Sierra Leone is now ripe for investment in several sectors among which is in the tourism sector . Even though we provide excellent hotels, there is still much more to be done for the development of holiday resorts on excellent beaches. There are many opportunities for relaxation and pleasure, i.e. giving tourists a new experience for their holidays and good opportunities for investments in tourism.
All of these show the seriousness of Government to attract investors.
Tourism in Sierra Leone has taken a central position in the country’s developmental strides. These include:
- Eco-tourism where the government and private industry will create conditions, the knowledge, the infrastructure and the synergies for a sustainable focused tourism economy. Our goal is transferring Sierra Leone into a role model in West Africa for eco-tourism
- Wild life tourism – where the visitor can see extensive wildlife like apes, chimpanzees, elephants and many species of birds.
- Beach tourism- the wide beaches are directly facing the Atlantic Ocean
- For the lovers of water sports, there are excellent opportunities for Surfing and other activities.
- Excursions to well-preserved areas which show the cultural heritage of Sierra Leone
The people of Sierra Leone and we like to invite you to explore our beautiful country and welcome you to SERRAOUSLY SIERRA LEONE at ITB 2019
I am sure the Hon. Minister will dilate on these few points I have mentioned.
Once more, I welcome you all to this Press Conference.
I thank you for listening.