Developing the tourism industry is one of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s priorities in his Agenda for prosperity to develop the country’s economic status.
As a means of adhering to this call, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs together with the Heritage Foundation are mapping out plans to transform the Lantern Parade into a street Carnival that will start from 11am to 8pm and last for at least two or three days.
The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Peter Bayuku Konteh, said the lantern parade is a significant event in the calendar of the country that brings people all over and beyond to celebrate Sierra Leone’s Independence anniversary, stating that transforming the Lantern parade into a street carnival to last at least for two or three days will yield good fruit for the tourism industry, as it will help to attract more tourists.
Addressing journalist at the Ministry’s conference hall during a press briefing, at Kingharman Road in Freetown, he disclosed that transforming Lantern Parade is a bold step that will help push Sierra Leone into the limelight for tourism, as compared to other countries who organize such carnivals during the day.
He explained that he has witnessed such carnivals in Britain and some Caribbean countries, where people from all over the world, gather together to celebrate despite their color or race, therefore if Sierra Leone can organize such a carnival, it will help boost the country economically and socially.
He noted that as part of their plans, the Ministry is working together with the Sierra Leone Police to ensure adequate security is in place for next year’s event, and Heritage Foundation will ensure that more cultural activities are created to add more spice into the event, as the aim of changing the time for the event to daytime is to ensure peace and sanity among the participants which will attract more people from around the world.
Commenting about the just concluded six days annual cultural festival in Bo, the Minister stated that it was a success story, as participants from all the districts including Western urban and rural, displayed their various cultural values in mask devils and traditional attires that depicts the country’s true culture, adding that he was impressed with the turn out of the people despite their political differences, they were able to grace the celebration in grand style.
He stated that Government provided the sum of Le 500m (five Hundred Million Leones) to show its commitment in developing the country’s cultural activities and making annual national cultural festival a priority to be replicated to other regions within the country annually, admitting that the late accessing of the funds allocated for the festival in some way affected the momentum of the festival in Bo and that there was indeed some internal problems relating to differences of opinions.
Friday May 02, 2014