The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio has launched the 2022 Budapest-Bamako Freetown Rally at a Cocktail organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board at Country Lodge Hotel in Freetown.
Giving the opening remarks, the Director of Tourism at the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mohamed Jalloh said that he is excited that the Budapest-Bamako Freetown Challenge 2022 would he hosted in Freetown for the second time. He recalled that in 2020 Sierra Lone played a significant role in hosting more than 700 participants from more than 80 countries of the Budapest-Bamako rally which was amazing and a rare scene that would only be seen on Television.
He pointed out that the rally holds tremendous benefits for Sierra Leone; raising the profile of Sierra Leone to host international events, opportunity to demonstrate the safety and peacefulness of Sierra Leone as a Tourist destination, induced word of mouth publicity and a platform for cultural exchange and also publicity to host major international events.
The Honorary Consul of Hungary in Sierra Leone Jihad Eter in his statement thanked the Minister of Tourism, Dr. Memunatu Pratt for her continued effort in making the event a success, while noting that the Minister’s effort is to improve tourism in Sierra Leone by implementing government policies under the New Direction with particular emphasis on promoting, marketing and improving the international image of Sierra Leone. He maintained that Sierra Leone was confirmed by the UN World Tourism Organization as one of the world fastest growing tourist destination.
He thanked the organizer of the rally, Andew Szabo, a Hungarian for choosing Sierra Leone again as the finish line for the Budapest-Bamako Freetown rally 2022.
He revealed that the participants of last year’s event told him that they were overwhelmed with enthusiasm by which the people of Sierra Leone welcomed and accommodated them. He noted that Sierra Leone and Hungary have strengthened their bi-lateral relationships in many development sectors particularly in education.
The Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Africell, Joe Abass Bangura and the Internal Affairs Minister, David P. Noah all pledged their continued support to making Budapest-Bamako Freetown Rally 2022 a success.
Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt in her address said the launched of the Budapest-Bamako Freetown Rally 2020 is another historic event for Sierra Leone going forward. She said lot of positives are visible in Sierra Leone especially in the tourism sector that has been revived by the political will of President Bio.
She stated that because of the hospitality of Sierra Leone, we will be hosting the Budapest Rally for the second time in 2022 and that Sierra Leone image is being portrayed positively in the world especially in Europe. He called on all to play their roles for Sierra Leone to continue to be the host country for the finish line.
Minister Pratt maintained that apart from the natural resources that Sierra Leone possesses, the Country is higly ranked in the Global Peace Index; 46th in the World and 4th in West Africa, hence the country continues to play host to the Budapest finish line. She commended President Bio for strides made in promoting the hospitality industry and also dedicated the Budapest-Bamako Freetown Rally to President Bio. She said 2022 will be a golden year for Sierra Leone as we will be playing host to more than 2000 participants of the Budapest-Bamako Freetown Challenge.
Launching the Budapest-Bamako Freetown Rally 2022, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio said the 2020 event will not only change the face of Sierra Leone but will also sell Sierra Leone internationally.
She commended Minister Pratt for the tremendous strides in changing the narrative in the tourism sector, noting that President Bio did not make a mistake in making her the Minister of Tourism.
She called on the Tourism Ministry to sell the beauty of Sierra Leone especially taking the guests to the beautiful beaches in the provinces. She admonished all to embrace the guests, make them feel comfortable as the benefit is for all Sierra Leoneans devoid of region, tribe or political party.
The Managing Director, Rokel Commercial Bank, Walton E. Gilpin launched the Tourism Traveltainment Magazine and the Sierraously Surprising “Mama Salone” video/song done by Rozzy Sokota entertainment.
The event was climaxed by the presentation of PATWA (International Travel Award) to the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt for her strides in making Sierra Leone a travel destination.