Minister Outlines Quick Wins of the Tourism and Cultural Sectors
The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Madam Memunatu Pratt (in photo) has outlined the quick wins of the tourism and cultural sectors at weekly Government press briefing in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Youyi Building in Freetown last Thursday.
The Minister stated that a two day workshop was held for the ministry and its agencies wherein a comprehensive strategic plan was developed in line with the New Direction (the peoples manifesto) adding that a three day training for hoteliers organized in collaboration with the Hotel and Tourism Association, PUM-A Dutch based training organization and the ministry.
She pointed out that a three year partnership with PUM secured to strengthen the capacity of the Hotel and Tourism Training Centre (HTTC), Brookfields Campus and mentioned that arrangements are far advanced for the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the HTTC supported by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).
The Minister stated that documentations of developers along the Lumley Beach have been solicited to aid the ministry in coordinating an orderly development of the Lumley Beach and disclosed that an on-set assessment of development activities along the Lumley Beach has been undertaken to give the ministry an opportunity to identify problematic areas and come up with decisions to resolve the challenges.
She said the ministry has engaged communities residing around tourist attraction areas such as the Levuma Beach to enhance the protection and cleaning of such sites.
The minister said they had has also facilitated the installation of mobile toilets along the Lumley Beach, key tourism associations have been engaged to identify challenges and path a way forward to collectively mitigate the challenges within the sector adding that these associations include the Tourism Federation, The Hotel and Tourism Association, The Association of Tour Guides, The Sierra Leone Association of Hospitality and Tourism Professions and the Hotel and Tourism Training Centre.
She maintained that the relationship with the World Bank and other development partners strengthened to support the ministry in implementing its strategic plan and discussed that letters of engagement with key diplomatic missions have been circulated.
She said plans for the review of the Tourism Development Master Plan are also in place while stating that the ministry has forged a partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Arts of Burkina Faso to enable the participation of Artisans in Africans biggest Arts and Crafts Exhibition to be held in November 2018, in Ouagadougou.
The erudite minister said she has had several public media engagements for popularizing the achievements and milestones of the Tourism and Cultural Sectors and disclosed that the design of an attractive and robust website for the ministry commenced.
She dilated that a number of strategic international contacts and network established.
On the Cultural Sector, the minister stated that the development of an integrated strategic plan to take onboard the activities of the Cultural Division. She said the review and drafting of the National Heritage Bill which will also establish a Commission of Arts and Entertainment in progress.
“A meeting with the National Dance Troupe organized to address their challenges relating to accommodation, transport and general welfare”, said the minister and further discussed that initiative for the regular supply of food to the National Dance Troupe by FAO in progress.
She said a meeting held with musical artists for the formulation of a National Arts and Entertainment Policy and highlighted that a follow up with Action Aid on the construction of a National Arts Gallery undertaken. She said discussion with key stakeholders in progress to support the Cultural Village and the setting up of a non-formal Institute of Arts and Culture.
She said discussion commenced for the production of a film on tourism in Sierra Leone and the unveiling of a painting of the Great Bai Bureh at the National Museum.
She concluded by stating that the ministry in collaboration with the FCC organized a Civic Funeral of the great artist-Samuel Macro.
By Samuel Thomas Bangura
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