Speaking at the Consultative meeting, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Memunatu Pratt noted that Coastal areas and island forms the highest tourist attraction around the world. She stated that Sierra Leone has about twenty two islands, adding the country over the years has noted yielded any benefits from these islands. The establishment of an island tourism development policy according to the Minister is part of the ministry’s plan to diversifying tourism potentials in the country. The policy she furthered will be a blueprint to enhancing and diversify the country’s tourism potentials and improve economic growth.
Minister Pratt continued that Sierra Leone’s Islands has the potentials of serving as a revenue generation. She added that the policy will address challenges faced by some of the islands. Key among the challenges faced by islands in the country the Minister noted is environmental challenges. she therefore encouraged stakeholders to make meaningful contribution to the consultative process.
According to Cyrillia Wilson Admin and Human Resource Manager at the National Tourist Board, developing an Island tourism development policy will help in planning islands in the country and make them a tourist destination.
Pledging their support to the process, the World Bank Country Manager Gayle Martin described tourism as the fastest growing sector in the world that contribute to job creation in the world. She noted that developing a policy like this will help local communities to be part of development process in the country. She encouraged islanders to make good use of the opportunity by making meaningful contribution and supporting the sustainable implementation of the policy that will be developed.
Speaking on behalf of island dwellers, Isagah Sesay from Turtle Island Sierra Leone can boast of islands that produced abundant wealth. He mentioned that turtle island can boast of five out of the seven spices of turtles in the world. He emphasized that such engagement will not only help plan and structure island development but also help them as island dwellers especially in the area of job opportunities.