By: Thaimu Bai Sesay

With the primary focus on advancing the Tourism Sector and placing it the limelight, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Tourism and Cultural Affairs chaired by Hon. Mohamed Sheriff Rahman-Coker has on Friday 8th December 2023 engaged the Ministry of Tourism and its Sectors on familiarization visits.

In his opening remarks the Parliamentary Chairman of the Committee on Tourism Hon. Mohamed Sheriff welcome officials from the MDA’s present and underscored the importance of Parliament, cognizant to law-making, representation, and oversight. He continued that the meeting was the first in the Sixth Parliament as he outlined the composition of the committee and its mandate relative to the development of the tourism industry.

The chairman promised parliament to do due diligence in their work and assist the tourism industry in advancing development. He said the purpose of the meeting was mainly to familiarize themselves, in light of charting the way forward to discuss and address the challenges of the tourism sector.

In his brief Statement Phillip Mosay Deputy Secretary of the Tourism Ministry said the tourism ministry had achieved a lot internally and internationally adding that it had changed the narrative from a war country to that of a developing country.

The Tourism Deputy Secretary went on to highlight the numerous works of the ministry in putting Sierra Leone as a tourism attract destination. He also informed the committee that the ministry was working on the review laws to be brought to Parliament for enactment.

In his submission, the Director of Tourism Mr Mohamed Jalloh said a lot had been done but much needed to be done. He highlighted the work of the ministry in terms of their master plan working documents in which he said, all stockholders were involved and went on to note that it would be launched soonest.

He informed the committee that they had been doing their inter-ministerial meetings on matters relating to the tourism industry. He furthered that they were working with the transport ministry to have a fixed airline to travel to Sierra Leone with a cheap tax rate to boost the tourism industry, adding that through the support of the Banks, the ministry is now focusing on the project in the Leicester  peak, Burreh Beach and the Tacugama center for tourism attraction

The General Manager of the National Tourism Board Mrs. Fatmata Meda Crew outlined the work of the institution relative to the mandate and functions of their work. She highlighted each department’s function in the tourism board, saying work has been done in the tourism sector in terms of policies and strategic plans for the sector.

The GM said Sierra Leone had gained a lot of international recognition relative to the positive work done by the President of Sierra Leone. She said a lot of international articles had been written by international media, CNN, and others.

Madam Fatmata went on to disclose that the current minister had put in place the early promotion of the tourism sector by taking MPs, Ministers, and other sectors to visit local tourism areas. The GM said currently the country has eight international tourism promoters in the country to thermite the diversification of the tourism sector.

MPs from the Committee applauded the work of the tourism sector and promised to work with the ministry, but went on to highlight some important issues for the promotion and development of the Tourism Sector

In concluding the meeting, the chairman appreciated the engagement and pleaded for a good working environment for both the tourism sector and that of Parliament. The Chairman informed that the committee would soon embark on an oversight visit to all hotels in the country to investigate licensed

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