With 130 hotels nationwide, Sierra Leone’s newest $ 5.7million addition has been unofficially classed as “nothing more than a first class hotel” by the director of the National Tourist Board, Cecil Williams.
Named after the river which runs through Njala village in Southern Sierra Leone, “Taia” Resort Hotel was yesterday officially opened by the Minister of Presidential and Public Affairs, Joseph Koroma on behalf of President, Ernest Bai Koroma who was unavoidably absent.
In the D.R.G. Gwynne Jones conference hall where the ceremony took place, the Minister of Tourism, Hindolo Trye said, “one of the avowed dreams of President Koroma has been the economy of Sierra Leone positively engaging the private sector.”
This dream, he said, “has started producing results” signalling “the opening of this ultra modern and state-of-the-art Taia Hotel and Resorts at Lumley beach” as “another success story in the development of the accommodation sector of the [tourism] industry,”
He encouraged other players of the private sector to emulate the good example set by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wilfred Sam King.
Trye urged all well meaning Sierra Leoneans to support the venture saying “Wilfred has done the land scaping and environmental protection along the beach line… we appeal to all other investors along this area to follow suit,” he pleaded.
To grace the occasion with the traditional flavour it deserves, Paramount Chief of Kori Chiefdom Thomas Gbappi decided to address the audience through his native tongue- Mende.
PC Gbappi said that his presence is a demonstration of his full support and solidarity with his subject, Sam King. The Chief said Wilfred Sam King was born in Taia River in Kimbima, just six miles from Taiama where the Njala University is located.
He disclosed that in the not too distant future the audience will be called again to witness the opening of Taia Hotel and Resort extension, “this time not in Freetown but in Taiama,” he said.
His soft spoken voice and simple disposition could tell the humble beginning, of the CEO Sam King Group of Companies, Wilfred Sam King as he delivered his address saying, “the international community is saying that Sierra Leoneans must take the lead to enhance and increase their productive capacity because they are tired of giving us aid.”
Frankly, he said, “aid is not necessary, what is important is investment.”
Giving an overview about Taia, he said, “Taia is a river that runs from the North to the South, noting that along this region where the river runs there are many villages and towns which depend on the river for their livelihood.”
He explained that people along the river bank are very hard working, noting that most of them are engaged in agriculture. He also spoke about the value system in this provisional area, which teaches you to work very hard, honest and face challenges. “In the face of adversity you must develop genuine strategies to overcome it. Cutting over does not work it is not sustainable” he said.
Speaking about the project, he said it was quite challenging the terrain was really rough.
He disclosed that to make the land firm for construction it was filled with “2,800 cubic meter volume bags of [soil].”
The somewhat fearless investor disclosed to journalists that he is expecting to amortize his investment in the next 8 to 9 years. He also disclosed that the Hotel and Resort will not only be relying on rooms for revenue but also the revenue centres like the conference halls and the court yard.
The CEO also revealed that marketing strategies are in place to market the resort internationally.
The magnificent edifice stood like a castle; beautifully watching the sea and monitoring the sun as it sets beyond the horizons with its orange radiant rays decorating the ocean as evening passes by.