… Unveils domestic tourism vision
At the ongoing 2024 edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR), Sierra Leone is seizing the opportunities provided by the international platform to seek collaborations, while reinforcing its commitment to global partnerships and cultural exchange.
Excited at the fair, Naabela Tunis, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Sierra Leone, described FITUR as a platform for strategic partnerships and a unique opportunity for countries to effectively market themselves on a global scale.
Hence, she sees her country’s role as a collaborator rather than a competitor in the international tourism arena.
“My impression is that it is a great opportunity to create partnerships; to learn about other destinations and also position your country as one of the destinations to visit. So, it is a lovely experience and it gives a lot of opportunities to create a lot of partnerships beyond what we have in Sierra Leone.
“Being here in a space of 1500 square kilometers, and also observing how other countries have been exhibiting, their products are also useful for us because we do see that we have a very unique product, which can be launched into this market,” she said.
Minister Tunis further underlined Sierra Leone’s presence at FITUR as an excellent platform to project the country’s rich culture and tourism to diverse parts of the world, while emphasizing the positive reception so far.
“We are all here not as competitors. But we are all here showcasing our unique selling products. Feedback in terms of our country as a destination has been great. A lot of people don’t know Sierra Leone. So, we are using this opportunity to create awareness for people to understand that there is a country called Sierra Leone and that it has a lot to offer its people in terms of tourism and culture and food.
“So far, we have had a lot of visits to our stand. Yesterday we clocked over 400 and today we have gone quite far. I have not checked the numbers because they are quite encouraging as well,” she said.
She also used the international expo platform to unveil her country’s domestic tourism vision, especially the commitment to promoting domestic tourism.
She highlighted that ‘The Tourism for All’ campaign, which is already underway, is pivotal in driving the cause to promote domestic tourism.
“We have a ‘Tourism For All’ campaign this year, which are modeled along themes every month. So, this January is our ‘Explore and Discover’ month and the reason we are focusing on domestic tourism is that for the past five years, our government has put a premium on tourism as a sector that would guarantee economic growth, and therefore we have done a lot of work back home, getting people prepared to understand that tourism is the sector to be and here we are also helping to promote domestic tourism and not solely as a destination.”
Naabela Tunis also highlighted that Sierra Leone has garnered attention in recent times due to its authenticity, beautiful itinerary, and natural environment. She highlighted that Sierra Leone offers a haven where visitors can revel in the splendor and pollution-free environment. Moreover, the people, rich culture, and food are all added experiences for tourists.
“You may know that we have received a lot of attention, globally, CNN National Geographic, they have all discovered Sierra Leone that it is the place to be. It is a new destination. It offers authenticity and a natural environment. Its natural environment is something to die for. There is no pollution in Sierra Leone. It is a place where you can immerse yourself in not only the nature but the people, the culture, the food, almost everything that you are looking for, as a person everywhere in the world is in Sierra Leone. So, we are promoting domestic tourism as well as promoting our destination as one that is an upcoming and rising destination,” she said.