Consultants from Journey and ACORN Consultancies together with the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and its implementing agency, National Tourist Board (NTB) with support from World Bank Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project (SLEDP) has held the first of its regional consultative Marketing and Branding Project Workshop at Paloma Guest House, Kenema, Eastern Region.
Presenting an introduction to Marketing and Branding approach, the lead Consultant of Journey Consultancy Firm, Mike Fabricio said the workshop aims at Marketing Sierra Leone to the International Community to erase the negative messages about Sierra Leone. He maintained that they are putting together a plan of how best Sierra Leone can be marketed in other countries and also develop a logo and a slogan that will promote Sierra Leone.
In the first session, participants were asked by the consultants to discuss and produce answers on what do they have to offer visitors to their region? How do they think visitors will feel when they have visited their area and experienced the things they have offered? and what are the experiences and attractions that make their region different from other regions.
Participants explained that their region (Eastern Region) has a lot to offer to visitors, ranging from the Gola Forest, their rich cultural heritage, the Kamboi Hills, and that visitors would feel fulfilled and having the urge to visit the region again after experiencing the uniqueness of the district. They highlighted a special coffee variety (senophylia), the Togbo Hills, the Pygmy hippo, a plant called Gilbertodendron as the top attractions that make their region different from other regions.
In order to develop and better present these top experiences and attractions to visitors, the participants explained that there should be improved infrastructure, strengthen security force, development of regional research sites, improved electricity and value chain addition to local products. To get people to know about their region, participants agreed that social media handles (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), newspapers, TV, signage to tourist sites, website, billboards and flyers should be employed to sell their region.
Participants asserted that the peace, security, unity, warm hospitality, unique heritage and natural beaches, their diamond potentials could be a symbol for marketing their region.