By Isaac Unisa Kamara.
Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affaire, Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt on Friday, 19th February, 2021, engaged local heads, mainly of headmen from the coastal communities of both western rural and urban, on the way forward to develop the country’s Tourism industry on the theme dubbed, ‘Operation Retrieve Tourism Assets’.
The meeting which took place at the Conference Hall of Council of Churches Sierra Leone, was attended by various stakeholders of the tourism industry developmental drive.
Madam Pratt while addressing participants, she hinted on the quest of Government to see that, the industry thrives as any other in the developed world. “President Bio during his taking on office in 2018 expressed strong desire to rebrand the industry. Now we are seeing evidences of a growing industry that has evidently attracted public interest,” she noted, adding that, her ministry is consciously digging out the its natural beauty.
Building the confidence of the local heads on the venture, she spoke of her strategy on the plan work being collaborated with relevant stakeholders that, they should trust the process as it’s going to be a sureball.
“The action plan is highly rated on protecting the welfare of locals to make them realise the worth of their natural resources in their respective communities,” she disclosed.
Pratt buttressed government’s commitment to lure investors into the industry that will enable locals engage in vibrant community tourism ventures. She cautioned locals to discourage any activity that would lead to the distruction of the natural resources of the beaches and mountains along the coast.
Deputy Minister, William I. K. Robinson stressed the need for locals to join themselves in a network action plan that would help them exchange ideas for the best beneficial results. “Ministry will work with appropriate headquarters to implement bye-laws to prevent intruders from destroying the protected areas,” he said.
Chairman, National Tourist Board, Alieu Kokobay said, preservation of the natural beauty of the land along the coast will not only benefit the present generation but the children yet unborn.
Tourism Legislations, Policies and Development Framework Officer, Maligie Kamara, reminded participants that government has the sole right to declare a particular land spot as a national asset.
“Tourism areas are meant for its purpose and nothing else, because their natural beauty are selling points to attract investors,” he noted, stressing that protecting such areas preserves the peace of nature.
“The fast creeping climatic change the world is witnessing is as a result of neglect of natural areas man has failed to protect,” he disclosed.
On behalf of his colleagues headmen, Chairman, Council of headmen, pledged support to the ministry, while acknowledging the stance of the ministry which aims at developing their communities.