By Robin Dopoe Jr., from Grand Cape Mount County
Robertsport, the capital City of Grand Cape Mount County, may be underdeveloped, yet still the city has a huge potential for tourism that has over the years remained untapped.
A home to the Vai people, Robertsport is endowed with a rich cultural heritage and a variety of beautiful natural sceneries ranging from Lake Piso to the city’s spectacularly clean white beaches to the rainforest –all of which make the city an ideal spot for hotels and resorts, which will bring in good returns for sector related business enterprises.
Apart from these, the city has a lot of attractions for tourists ranging from Bay Mouth – an area where Lake Piso and other bodies of water enter the Atlantic Ocean, a majestic and unique view as the gigantic waves of the Atlantic mix with the smaller waves coming from Lake Piso, to a visit to the Massatin Island by canoe, a haven for monkeys and bird species.
Bay Mouth, which is accessible only by foot, is a perfect place to sit and just relax, making it an ideal spot for a five star hotel or resort.
Robertsport, named after the first president of Liberia Joseph Jenkins Roberts, possesses one of the country’s richest nature reserves in terms of unique wildlife, flora and fauna, including geological formations.
The city, which is about 2-3 hours drive from the capital Monrovia, is rich in heritage tourism considering the plantation-style houses – although decrepit, reminiscent of the southern part of the United States.
From the famous ruins of the allied air forces during World War II to a cultural center, Lanefort and Brunt Memorial Hall, which dates back to the early 19th century but still intact, the city is proof of the country’s rich potential for tourism.
Robertsport is, however, a case study of the then class system that existed in the country for over a century, evidenced by its ruins that were inhibited by Americo-Liberians.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in 2012, 63.6 million international tourists visitors arrived in Africa helping countries like Egypt to generate ($9.94 billion), followed by South Africa ($9.994 billion), Morocco ($6.711 billion), Tunisia ($2.183 billion), Tanzania ($1.564 billion) and Mauritius ($1.477 billion).
The report added that the economic potential of tourism is remarkable, with direct and indirect impact on employment. In Africa alone, travel and tourism generated 8.2 million direct jobs in 2012.
Against this backdrop, Robertsport’s future looks bright when one considers the city’s rich tourism potential when developed, which will create a profound impact on the society and economy.
However, regardless of the city being blessed with unique natural settings and a rich cultural heritage, it is unable to cash in on these resources due to the absence of infrastructural development and basic social amenities.
Although tourists’ expectations of Robertsport will not be fully met, as the tourism sites in the city are not properly taken care of or preserved, the city still receives a large number of foreigners each weekend who want to enjoy its once in a lifetime tourism experience.
Robertsport is also the best area in Liberia for surfing, canoeing and water skiing.
Meanwhile, attempts to speak with the city’s administrators were fruitless as our reporter was told they were unavailable.