By Robin Dopoe and Chris F Pewu (Intern)
SABEGNA School of Travel and Tourism’s CEO Henry B. Benson has called on the senate to fast-track a bill that is lingering in the plenary that seeks to detach the Bureau of Tourism from the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).
The Bill was submitted by Lofa County Senator George Tamba Tengbeh three months ago urging his colleagues to amend Chapter 3 of the New Executive Law MICAT.
Benson said the only way the tourism industry in Liberia will boom is when the Bureau of Tourism becomes an autonomous agency.
He added: “The passing of this bill is necessary to reawakening the bureau, which has been very dormant over the years, to properly regulate and promote the growth of the industry.
“It will be very difficult for us to build a tourism industry when the bureau is attached to a ministry whose work is to defend the government.
“Only an autonomous bureau, not the ministry will have the power to market the country’s tourism industry. Right now there are too many line ministries that needed to be consulted before things move. But when the bureau is autonomous, the many bureaucracy will stop, giving chance for the growth of the industry.
“Secondly, the bureau, when on its own, is mandated to encourage and promote the tourism industry by conducting continuous surveys of potential touristic and historical sites, and will be enforced. Then, it will have the power to stimulate measures for the development of the tourist industry in the country, as well as recommend rules and regulations for the preservation, protection and operation of tourist attractions and centers all over Liberia so as to ensure the safety and comfort of tourists, without that long bureaucracy that is currently being faced since it is under MICAT,” he said.
Meanwhile, Benson reminds Liberians to love their culture and place value on its practices rather then on foreign ones.
“If we want to preserve our culture and its value, then we should all start teaching it to our children and learning to visit their native land and historical areas,” he said.
On SABEGNA’s role in the tourism sector, Benson said the school was established to improve the skills of Liberians wanting to study at the studio.
“We are currently working on plan to decentralize the school across the country and educate Liberians on the importance of promoting domestic tourism,” he concluded.