The tourism sector’s continued contribution to the world economy coupled with Liberia considered a gold mine for untapped tourism sites has appealed to the government to recently host its second national stakeholders’ consultative workshop on developing the country’s tourism strategies.
The consultative workshop was held on Monday and Tuesday this week at Bella Casa Conference Hall in Sinkor, Monrovia.
Participating in the consultations are government of Liberia representatives – through the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism – and representatives of the International Trade Center, the Liberia National Tourism Association and citizens from Liberia’s local communities.
Speaking to the Daily Observer, the Director of Tourism in The Gambia called on Liberians to appreciate the geographical features of their country and support the agenda to boost tourism.
Dr. Adama Bah said Liberians should put aside thoughts that create discontent and always see the beauty in every aspect of the country, most especially the tourism sector.
“Your destinations should be made by you, and not for you,” he told Liberians. “Take responsibilities. Be calm and critical. Be resilient and innovative. Be the first to invest in the tourism sector of your country and contribute to strategies that will boost and sustain the sector.”
The Gambia, Dr Bah’s home country, uses tourism as a major economic investment source that is making the country attractive to foreign donors and investors.
“Pro-poor and sustainable tourism in West Africa is important to curtailing extreme poverty on a people of a country,” he said.
Mr. Newon Sei Dumbar, Technical Research and Development Strategist of the Liberia National Tourism Association, said LINTA will come up with a strategic framework plan that will include public private partnership, research development, long term programing, etc.
The strategist called on Liberians to appreciate domestic cultural exchange, the physical aspects of Liberia and independent family visions to enhance the protection of wild life and the ecosystem.
He said LINTA is supporting its own projects as a support to government’s developmental policies.
Mr. Daniel Nmatey Konlaa, founding member of the JWG Sunset Beach Hotel and Resorts located on the Roberts Field Highway, considers motorcyclists, petty traders, and every other Liberian as vital players in the tourism industry. He said that as a member of LINTA the mission of his entity is to unearth products such as lagoons, beaches, hotels, etc., to boost the tourism sector in Liberia.
“Human resource and capital developments are needed and the nurturing of the culture of servitude and strengthening security through manpower and technology to include the use of CCTV cameras are very important to the tourism industry,” he said.
He called on every Liberian to not be afraid to engage in the tourism sector.
The Assistant Minister for Tourism at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism commended all the partners in process, including the World Trade Organization, who are immensely contributing to the growth and development of the tourism sector in the country.
Mrs. Jacqueline Capehart named Sapo National Park in Cape Mount; Gbatawee Fall in Bong County; and Lake Piso in Cape Mount as the selected sites to be developed for tourism in Liberia.
“As we strive to get things done we acknowledge the challenges at hand, too. The lack of good road networks to reach some of these sites, electricity and over all security is a major task at hand,” she said, while calling for everyone’s support.
She said more consultations will be held not only in Monrovia but other parts of the country as well.