The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and its agencies, the National Tourist Board and the Monument and Relics Commission with support from the African Americans Businesses in Sierra Leone have joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Day on the theme: “tourism and green investment”
World Tourism Day has been held on the 27th of September each year since 1980. The date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the statutes of the organization in 1970, paving the way for the establishment of UNWTO five years later. The purpose of the celebration is to foster awareness among the international community and domestically of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value to the development of nations.
The celebrations started with a float parade with schools pupils who matched from the National Museum to the Ministry’s Kingharman Road Headquarters, preceded by cultural exhibition and performances and a grand ceremony with sector stakeholders and private sector representatives.
In his statements, the Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh started by thanking the school pupils for participating in the procession to start the commemoration and most importantly President Bio for the support provided to the sector over the years in making Sierra Leone one of the renowned upcoming destinations that continues to receive recognition from reputable international organizations and media houses for it strides in tourism
“We continue to record tremendous gains in the area of reforms and infrastructural development for the sector. Development in Banana Island, MMTU Brookfields Campus, Wara Wara Hills, Tiwai Island and Chepo in Turtle Island are all completed and also efforts are underway to transform the outlook of Lumley beach and the restoration and rehabilitation of key cultural heritage sites nationwide”, he mentioned.
He disclosed that in order to embark on a robust and aggressive awareness raising for the tourism and cultural sectors, Minister Nabeela Tunis has initiated a year long Tourism celebration to promote domestic tourism and encourage Sierra Leoneans to familiarize with their touristic and cultural heritage sites.
In her message to Sierra Leoneans on the commemoration of the UNWTO World Tourism Day, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Nabeela Farida Tunis called for conscious effort to support sustainable practices, and harness their cultural potential to build bridges and foster development. “To our compatriots, you have demonstrated passion, commitment and dedication over the years to boost our industry. We thank you all for contributing immensely to the growth of Tourism and encourage others to join us promote our rich cultural heritage to foster deeper cohesion and sustainable tourism and cultural development in Sierra Leone”, she maintained. Minister Tunis is in Saudi Arabia attending a global conference on the celebration of World Tourism Day.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Kadijatu Grace Ahene Kamara applauded all for gracing the celebrations. She said as the global commemoration was ongoing in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry decided to celebrate culture and the importance of tourism to the development of Sierra Leone. She mentioned that the young ones should be trained on the understanding and importance of their culture. The Deputy Minister participated in the traditional performances and officially opened the exhibition
The ceremony was steered by the Deputy Director of Culture, Ishmael Kamara and the closing courtesy was done by the Administrative Manager of the Monument and Relics Commission, Ann-Marie Kamara.