Stakeholders from Liberian government, private sector, media and civil society validated the Liberia’s tourism brand and a marketing strategy at a workshop held at the Boulevard Palace Hotel in Monrovia on 19 January 2021. More than 35 officials convened to deliberate on the brand and the marketing strategy.
These included Hon. Lance Gba-Gonyon, Deputy Minister of Tourism and representatives from the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
“The objective for the development of tourism brand and a marketing strategy is to have a well-defined framework that showcase Liberia’s tourism potential and promote the tourism sector; and makes it stand out from rivals, attract customers, and generate brand awareness,” said Deputy Minister of Liberia’s tourism, Lance Gba-Gonyon.
The branding and marketing development forms part of a wider Tourism Development Project being implemented by ITC in collaboration with UNWTO and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI).
Leading up to the validation of the brand and the strategy, stakeholders met in four workshops organised by ITC in collaboration with MICAT with facilitation from ITC’s tourism marketing and brand expert, Dr. Mike Fabricius. There were more than twenty-five stakeholders, representing all the key tourism parties in Liberia including MICAT, MOCI, the Liberia National Tourism Association (LINTA), Chefs Association of Liberia, Forestry Development Authority, Liberia foreign missions’ representatives, Roberts International Airport and Civil Aviation, civil society organizations including the Society for Conservation of Nature of Liberia, media, amongst others.
During the first workshop, stakeholders agreed on Liberia’s main tourism marketing assets and challenges and pinned down Liberia’s market positioning as being the best destination in West Africa for nature, culture and water sports discoveries. In the second workshop, the consultants explained the concept of destination branding and the process of developing the brand. Workshop participants then worked in groups to come up with a brand personality, and they defined the brand essence for Liberia as “the freedom to discover”.
At the third workshop, a range of logo and slogan designs developed by ITC consultants were evaluated by the Liberian stakeholders and three preferred options were selected for further refinement. Stakeholders also agreed on a marketing slogan “Liberia: Amazing Discoveries”. In the last validation workshop, held Tuesday, January 19, three refined logo options were presented and stakeholders selected the final, preferred logo for promoting Liberia under the “Amazing Discoveries” slogan.
At the conclusion of the workshop, representatives of MICAT and LINTA have agreed to consult with all interested and affected parties to validate the outcomes and decisions of the workshop. According to Dr Fabricius, a brand manual that sets out clearly how the visual brand identity should be used will be produced upon completion further validation of the decisions made by the participants of the workshop.
The marketing strategy, which sets the vision, objectives, market positioning and target markets for promoting the country as a tourism destination uses a three-phased approach over the next seven years. Phase one is “Laying the basis” which is designed for the first three years, then Phase two “expansion,” and phase three, “sustained growth.” Hon. Lance Gba-Gonyon says “as owner and custodian of the project, the government is determined to make this a reality. The political will is there and we will work with all stakeholders especially the private sector in the implementation and realization of the objective of this strategy. The strategy is in line with the recently developed Tourism Policy and Master plan.”
The Tourism Development Project
The Liberia Tourism Development project emanates from the National Export Strategy on Tourism 2016-2020 and responds to the implementation of the Strategy. It has an objective of developing the tourism sector offerings by: a) improving the policy environment and institutional capacity; b) developing new tourism destinations around surfing and other historical and natural attractions; and c) undertaking targeted promotion and advocacy campaigns to promote tourism to international, regional and domestic markets. Specifically, the project aims at: a) establishing a tourism information booth at the Monrovia Roberts International Airport, b) developing tourist reception facilities at the Robertsport beach-front, the Providence Island and the Marshall Island; and c) developing a tourism marketing strategy and a tourism brand identity for Liberia, focusing on Robertsport as a surf tourism destination.
The project is implemented by the International Trade Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism; and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. It is funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework Programme.