In the last two years since His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio envisioned that the country’s tourism sector should become a pillar of the country’s socioeconomic development, a lot of work has been done by the current Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs in partnership with its tourist promotion agency, the National Tourist Board.
The result showed quickly in the country’s tourist arrivals which were not more than 10, 000 in 2018 moving quickly up to over 100, 000 visitors by early 2020, with the sector contributing tens of millions of dollars to the national coffer.
In consolidating the gains made, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and Statistics Sierra Leone launched the National Tourism Census on Monday January 13, 2020 with the primary aim of placing the country’s tourism marketing in a very good position.
Funded by the Government of Sierra Leone, the report would contribute to the advancement of tourism in the nation by providing real-time information on touristic resources around the country.
After years in the doldrums, tourism in Sierra Leone has become the most dynamic and fastest growing industry. It is an aggregate of many different industries and services, and is influenced by almost every facet of society.
Sierra Leone expects economic and social benefits from tourism development such as: –
- Foreign exchange earnings
- The development of areas with no other immediate possibilities of expanding economic activity
- Creation of employment opportunities
- A boost for the local production of the goods and services consumed by the tourists
- More tax revenue for the state
- The integration of national cultures and societies and safeguarding of the national cultural identity from foreign culture influences
- Reasonable returns on investment in the sector
- The promotion of the true image of the country to attract holidaymakers and foreign entrepreneurs as part of the drive to step up international political and economic cooperation.
- Encouraging fair distribution of national income and creating new markets for consumer goods
- Providing additional infrastructure and amenities that will encourage and support the tourist industry as well as benefit local and national interests
It is in pursuit of these benefits that the government of Sierra Leone identified tourism as a priority sector for development – thus tourism has now become the largest contributor to the economy of Sierra Leone after mining and agriculture.