Sierra Leonean tourism minister visits Seychelles to study tourism island state’s success story
A high-level tourism delegation from Sierra Leone, led by the country’s tourism minister, is in Seychelles to study the best practices in tourism destination management, development, and marketing with an emphasis on sustainability.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt, paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, and the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, on Thursday.
Talking to the press following their meeting, Pratt shared that she and her delegation, comprising of professionals in the tourism ministry, private sector, and representatives of the World Bank, seek to learn from Seychelles so as “to transform Sierra Leone so that tourism becomes the main sector of the economy.”
“Seychelles is a good example of a country where you can depend solely on tourism. We want to learn how the institution, businesses, partnerships, and the education programmes are organised, and how this impacts the rest of the government when it comes to other sectors,” said Pratt.
During their working visit to Seychelles, the delegation has met with and is expected to meet with actors of the local tourism industry both in the public and private sectors. The Sierra Leonean minister said that such an approach would provide a holistic view of tourism, which is the main economic pillar of Seychelles.
“We had a meeting with the hotel associations, almost a half day with the Department of Tourism which made different presentations on all their various programmes. We will also be visiting the schools to see what is happening. We have been able to visit some of the tourism foundations to see how much work is being done,” elaborated Pratt.
Radegonde expressed that Seychelles is ready to help “our sister country of Africa be as successful as we are.”
“A delegation coming from Sierra Leone, a country that came out of a domestic crisis 20 years ago and that is trying to develop their tourism industry, has seen it as a good idea to look at what Seychelles is doing in the tourism industry goes to show that Seychelles is doing a good job. This is an opportunity to share our experience with a developing country, a sister country from Africa,” said Radegonde.
According to the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, the western African coastal country with a population of over 7 million people, underwent a “civil war in the 1990s killed or displaced about a third of the population. The country did not enjoy its first peaceful transfer of power until 2007.”
Seychelles has been in the tourism industry for over 50 years, with the opening of the international airport at Pointe Larue in 1972 being one of the key milestones that projected the tourism sector of the island nation.