Tourism Minister Markets Salone’s Potentials in Italy
In an effort to boost the tourism sector for sustainable economic growth, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr. Peter B. Konteh has taken it upon himself to lure meaningful investors in Italy for possible investment in the country. (Photo: Mr. Peter Konteh, Sierra Leone Minister of Tourism and Culture, and Italian Under Secretary of State Ms. Simonetta Giordani)
His recent visit to Italy with the Chairman of Sierra Leone’s National Tourist Board, Mr. Ahmed Wurie last week, on the kind invitation of the Honorary Consul General Mr. Allesandro Rosso, demonstrated the Minister’s readiness to ensure that the country continues to be an attractive destination for potential investors.
While in Italy, Mr. Konteh engaged Italian business moguls and tour operators in Milan to inform them about the country’s enormous potentials and its friendly and unique business environment. He therefore encouraged them to explore such potentials and establish their respective businesses in the country. After detailed highlights of the existing opportunities in the country, the Minister said the tour operators especially Kouni Tours, have expressed interest to go to Sierra Leone later this year.
In another development, Minister Konteh met with Ms. Simonetta Giordani, Under-Secretary of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism of the Republic of Italy and the head of the Crisis Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Claudio Taffuri in Rome. During the two meetings, Minister Konteh refuted claims made by the Italian government advising its citizens that they should not travel to Sierra Leone unnecessarily. The reports further warned that due to the country’s horrible past, travelling to the rural areas of the country is detrimental.
Minister Konteh dispelled such baseless and unfounded reports and informed Ms. Giordana and Mr Taffuri about the ongoing developments in the country. He gave an overview of Sierra Leone’s governance reform process, thus leading to the country’s enviable position in terms of economic growth across Africa.
He urged his hosts to embark on a proper research about the situation on the ground before disseminating such information to the general public. Sierra Leone he went on, has attracted world attention due to its success story in democratic governance and infrastructural development in recent times. This was why world leaders including United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon reposed confidence in the country due to its ongoing developments programmes. He therefore advised the government of Italy through the Under-Secretary to remove such information from their website; as such message may have negative impact to the country’s stride in promoting sustainable development.
While encouraging the Italian government to help market the country’s good image and strengthen the bilateral relationship that exists between the two countries, Minister Konteh urged Sierra Leoneans including government missions abroad to monitor information published about the country in respective websites.
Responding, the Under-Secretary and the head of the Crisis Unit expressed concern about such misinformation and assured Minister Konteh that immediate and necessary action will soon be taken to put the records straight.
Meanwhile, the Italian Ambassador based in Abidjan has already been contacted by the department of the Crisis Unit in Rome to do a proper assessment regarding the present reality in Sierra Leone. The Italian Under-Secretary has also expressed interest in helping Sierra Leone to get more tourist attraction and other business related opportunities.
Minister Konteh later proceeded to the Italian region of Tuscany where he held meetings with the Mayor and 25 medical doctors who have been travelling to Sierra Leone to offer free medical services to the people of Koinadugu district. He disclosed that the region of Tuscany is about to send a 20ft container with solar panels, medical equipments and a mini bus for the Kabala government hospital, the nursing school and the blind school respectively.
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