17th October, 2022. World Trade Centre Accra-Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt who also doubles as the chairperson for UNWTO Women in Tourism has as a special guest of this year’s Inter-Tourism and Trade Expo in Accra called for considerations to be given to regional networking and partnerships to solve the problems of the sub-region. The theme of the Expo was “the new tourism and sustainable air travel” The World Bank supported Sierra Leone’s participation in this year’s Expo.
The Inter-Tourism Expo, Accra is a leading tourism and trade show that is hosted under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Federation. It is an elite international gathering of leaders and partners in tourism trade, regulations and investment with the strategic aim of creating synergy among key stakeholders and also building lasting business to business, business to government and government to government network for participating countries inbound tourism market.
In his welcome statements, the Co-Executive Director of the India Africa Trade Council, Peter Mensah appreciated participating countries for their time, patience and cooperation saying that Ghana has demonstrated a distinguish example of leadership in hosting of such ceremonies. He assured for a beneficial deliberation and called on all to take advantage of the opportunity.
In her keynote address, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt remarked that the aim of sustainable tourism was to increase the benefits and to reduce the negative impacts caused by tourism and air travel as it relates to the environment, economic and socio- cultural of tourism and travel development in a suitable balance to guarantee long- term sustainability, thus working towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She said as they recover from COVID- 19 and its devastating impact on their tourism economy, they should be able to build back in a more circular and thoughtful way, adding that for the tourism and travel industry to accommodate the concerns and felt the needs of men and women, the travel industry needs to reinvent the customer experience with end-to-end contactless travel.
She maintained that women in tourism as a new paradigm in the sector, will continue their strides with programs on economic growth and social inclusion as they relate to employment, entrepreneurship, education and capacity building training, leadership, policy and decision making in the tourism and hospitality industry. As the global President of women in tourism, she would continue to engage in dialogue with governments to support them with the political will to integrate women’s issues that should be a priority in all government policies and legislation and to fulfill private sector commitments. She explained Sierra Leone’s tourism experience which she said is now contributing to the country’s GDP and creating jobs, she called for considerations to be given to regional networking and collaboration to solve the challenges of the sector.
There were high-level panel discussions on tourism trade goals and its impact on the African economy-a business development case, diaspora Africa engagements and women in tourism and business-empowerment and sustainable strategies for female tourism workforce, a session spearheaded by Dr. Memunatu Pratt. The sponsors of the entire Expo, Rwandair presented a discounted flight ticket for all participants to Sierra Leone’s Tourism Minister on behalf of the entire expo.