Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hindolo Trye has said that the deplorable condition of the country’s roads and hotels was responsible for the low tourist attraction to the country.
He said his ministry was one of the most viable which created employment and foreign exchange in the country, but cautioned such would not be achieved in isolation as other line ministries like Transport and Aviation, Works and Technical Maintenance and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority were expected to complement his ministry’s efforts in attracting tourists to the country.
He said if tourists were to be attracted to the country, there must be structures in place such as policy framework on tourism, good roads and electrified beaches with effective and the efficient functioning of hotels throughout the country.
Mr Trye said the country’s tourism potential was not known as most people were ignorant of the industry. He said his government attached so much importance to tourism and that plans were underway to revive the sector.
The war-torn image of the country abroad, he lamented, was damaging its potential, scaring potential tourists and investors away. He attributed this to the negative press coverage on Sierra Leone, especially those articles available on the internet.
The minister spoke on the state of the Bintumani Hotel for which he said the erstwhile SLPP Government loaned half a million US Dollars to Chinese investors who took over its management under a duty-free arrangement. “But”, continued the minister “there is nothing to write home about.”
He confirmed that tourist village sites had been identified in the southern and Northern Provinces as well as in the Western Area.
By Solomon Rogers