The Board of Director, National Tourist Board (NTB) and a cross section of management and staff last Saturday 8th August, 2020 ended a familiarization tour of touristic facilities and attractions in the Western Area.
The Board commenced the familiarization tour at various touristic sites in Sierra Leone with maiden trip to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Friday 7th August, 2020.
The team visited the National Museum, Railway Museum, Old Fourah Bay College building, several beaches along the peninsula highway including Mamah Beach, Bureh Beach, Kent Beach, John Obi Beach and River No. 2 beach and a host of historical city centre in Western Area.
The mission of the Board was to become au fait with many activities in the tourism sector by visiting all touristic facilities and attractions countrywide.
Speaking at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the Chairman of NTB Board of Directors, Alieu Kokobay underscored the importance of their familiarization tour in touristic sites saying they would be in the best position to market, talk and defend the industry at any given period locally and internationally.
He added that the Tacugama is one of the important touristic sites playing key role in promoting tourism development in the country.
NTB being responsible for marketing and developing the tourism sector in the country, he said they would not leave everything in the hands of Tacugama administration alone.
As Board Members he said they must be knowledgeable with what the country possesses, saying the tourism sector would be assisting to market the industry through communication to the people.
He further registered commitment to support the development of the site as there are more facilities to be provided there that will have to benefit generations.
The Director of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary Bala Amarase karan disclosed that the touristic site is neither private nor NGO but a government owned site notwithstanding the financial challenges they are facing to access fund from government.
According to him, it is very costly to feed and care for the chimpanzees which are nearly hundred in number plus the staff who are volunteers there.
He said that the Wildlife Conservation Project is a good project but in time people would start to appreciate it. He spoke of the seventy-three (73) communities they are working with across the country to protect the forest, pointing out the partnership with National Protected Area Authority (NPAA) for the protection of the Loma Mountain National Park in Koinadugu district which has been described as having the highest concentration of western chimpanzees anywhere in the world.
In his statement during the last day of visitation of touristic sites in the Western Area, the Chairman of the NTB, Mr. Alieu Kokobay said the visit will not only stop in Western Area, saying the board will be touring the entire tourist sites in the country.
He noted that he was happy with the tour and that board members are now familiar with almost all the historical touristic sites in Western area.
He appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to start doing domestic tourism to boost the industry.
"Sierra Leone has one of the best beaches in the sub region," he said.
Making a brief statement, the General Manager of National Tourist Board, Madam Fatmata Kroma said she felt honored and humbled during the tour.
She said that NTB is responsible for the marketing and promotion of Sierra Leone’s tourism assets. Reiterating on the closure of some resorts because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she encouraged all Sierra Leoneans to develop the culture of visiting the country's resorts with their families in a bid to promote domestic tourism.
She was upbeat that with the Board of Directors having first-hand information of most of the touristic sites in the country, they would be in the best position to give the kind of leadership and direction the management of NTB needs to promote Sierra Leone as an attractive tourist destination in the world.
The Minister of Tourism, Dr. Memunatu Pratt’s giant strides in the sector is sending positive messages in the outside world and has brought a major facelift to the tourism sector which places Sierra Leone presently as an attractive tourist destination.