The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports recently engaged stakeholders on the improvement and marketing of Liberia’s tourism sector.
The meeting was intended to encourage relevant government institutions to work together with the International Trade Center (ITC) to promote tourism as a means of boosting economic growth and job creation.
Addressing journalists last Tuesday, June 21 at MICAT, Deputy Commerce Minister for Trade, Stephen Towain Marvie Jr., who spoke on behalf of Minister Axel Addy, welcomed the effort as a strong signal of Liberia’s commitment to smaller enterprises that play a crucial role in rebuilding livelihoods and ensuring economic stability.
“Liberia’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have been hard hit by the crisis, and ITC is a proud partner of the government’s efforts to build a brighter future for all Liberians,” Marvie said. “I am convinced that the sector will contribute to national goals for poverty alleviation, rural development and broad-based income growth.”
Placing particular emphasis on MSMEs, which he said accounts for the lion’s share of employment in the country, Minister Marvie stressed the need for policies and investments to increase access to finance, improve product quality control, and speed up trade logistics to improve the overall export competitiveness of all sectors.
The Deputy Commerce Minister told journalists that there is another team set up by both ministries to validate the tourism strategy by looking at the action plans of government in the sector.
Minister Marvie thanked ITC stakeholders for the initiative they (the ministries) are receiving from them through the single project.
“We want to see more life in tourism to create more jobs for young people, because the skills are not difficult to acquire in the country as compared to other countries like Kenya,” he said.
For her part, Barkue Tubman, who was contracted by the ITC through the Ministry of Commerce with support from other partners, said part of her contract is to work with the three government ministries to develop a tourism trade strategy for the country.
“We are here today to discuss issues relating to Liberia’s tourism, because tourism in Liberia has a major role in the poverty reduction strategy and we need to change after Ebola. We also have over 200 persons from line ministries developing this awareness program,” she said.
Ms. Tubman disclosed that the government has also identified tourism as a priority because of the benefit it has, “we have beautiful beaches here like even West Point.”
“West Point is a beautiful beach that if turned around the community as well as the country can also benefit from it economically; and it will help create jobs even for people who are in the arts and crafts business,” she said.
According to her, travel agencies, companies, hotels, and restaurants will also benefit greatly from tourism because it will promote the country to the rest of the world as well as its people.