Officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs together with consultants from KEIOS Consulting have commenced the regional assessment of the country’s tourism products at Mamunta Mayasso Sanctuary and also held engagement with stakeholder at Makeni for the development of the Integrated Strategic National Tourism Masterplan. The exercise was aimed at producing a plan that will direct what to develop in key tourist destination nationwide.
The engagement in Makeni was attended by Representative of the Paramount chief, the Provincial secretary, the Tourism Association in Makeni and other key stakeholders in the district.
The need for an integrated strategic tourism Master plan is clear and an obvious priority to sanitize the Sierra Leone’s highly resourceful destination, hence the Government through the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs with National Tourism Board secured support from the World Bank to hire a consultancy for the DEVELOPMENT OF A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM for Sierra Leone. The result of the consultancy will be a strategic and action-oriented action plan with specific tasks and activities with feasible budgetary capacity for implementation by the GoSL over the next five to ten years. The Master Plan will serve as umbrella and synchronization of all existing and future strategic document policies, projects and activities for the sustainable development of the sector.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, William I. K. Robinson told participants that Bombali District has benefited from all major tourism activities in the past few years and encouraged them to take this exercise seriously as the development of the National Tourism Strategy Plan have enormous benefits that will impact them positively. The Permanent Secretary, Edward Kwame Yankson presided over the session.
Explaining to community stakeholders at Mamunta Mayosso and Makeni on the importance of the exercise, the Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh said they were there to engage them on what they have and the plans to develop it that will in turn bring more tourists to their destination with the help of the hired consultants. He said the consultants have done it in other countries and it would not take long before they begin to see the benefits through the development of the Master Plan. He stated that the consultant will help set the framework, write the plan and make decisions on the set targets through a participatory approach.
The Consultants, Mike Fabricius and Lucy McCombes took a tour of the Mamunta Mayosso sanctuary to see and understand the product in developing an environmental friendly infrastructure through the National Tourism Strategy Plan. They also visited Rogbonko village where they met with community stakeholders and explained to them the benefits of developing a Master Plan that covers their touristic assets. In their presentation to stakeholders in Makeni, the consultants put that the national environment is the main attract and must be protected and there are a number of things to do to get tourists to come, “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities” Said Lucy McCombes.
There were interactive group sessions on the challenges facing the region in the development of their attraction sites and possible solutions to same will be factored in the Master Plan.