Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The anticipation of the holiday season often brings dreams of tropical getaways, but for those eyeing a trip to Sierra Leone, the rising costs, particularly due to exorbitant taxes, have cast a shadow over these dreams. Sheila Barber, a Sierra Leonean based in the UK, has spoken out, revealing on her Facebook page that she would prefer to take her family to Jamaica this December than travel to Sierra Leone, citing the heavy financial burden.
For a family of four, the journey to Sierra Leone is proving to be increasingly expensive. Here’s a closer look at the financial breakdown from London to Freetown:
The cost of flights alone, at £1,750 per person, totals an eye-popping £7,000 for a family of four.
Currently, airport taxes for both arrivals and departures stand at $50 per person, amounting to $200 for the entire family. However, distressing news for travellers is that these taxes are soon set to surge to $165 per person, further inflating the expenses.
Within Sierra Leone, travellers often rely on sea coach crossings, with a cost of $90 per person for a round trip. For a family of four, this adds an additional $360 to the mounting expenses.
When combining the travel expenditures, exclusive of any spending money or holiday-related expenses, the total reaches £7,000 (for flights) plus $560 (covering airport taxes and sea coach crossings). This grand total sums up to a significant £7,560. When converting this amount to New Leones, it equates to approximately NLe 270,000- Which is 270 million old Leone.
Sheila Barber, who has previously enjoyed visits to Sierra Leone and has expressed her concerns about the escalating costs, is opting for Jamaica as a holiday destination instead.
In addition to Sheila’s perspective, Jocelyn Davies, based in the US, shared his views on the matter. He indicated that he wouldn’t be travelling to Sierra Leone in December due to the high costs but would consider other months when it’s more budget-friendly. However, Jocelyn emphasized, “In as much as it is expensive to travel to Sierra Leone, I don’t mind the cost because it’s coming back home. However, when it comes to expenses like using the sea coach, it’s all about convenience because there are cheaper alternatives.”
The increasing cost of a family trip to Sierra Leone, amounting to £7, 560 (equivalent to NLe 270,000) for a family of four, raises genuine questions about the impact of high taxes on holiday travel to the country. As Sierra Leone aims to attract tourists during the festive season, addressing these concerns surrounding the financial burden is crucial for the local tourism industry. While some travellers, like Jocelyn, are willing to bear the costs in the name of returning home, others like Sheila are opting for more affordable alternatives elsewhere. OG/6/10/2023