Sierra Leone is poised to become a number one tourist destination

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 February 2019:

On Wednesday 27th February, Sierra Leone will welcome Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace), the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, who will arrive in the country from the USA on a three-day visit, as the West African nation positions itself to become one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Africa.

The three-day visit will highlight the emerging conservation movement in Sierra Leone, as well as the country’s re-emergence on the world stage as a sustainable tourist destination.

Twenty-seven years ago, Dr. Jane Goodall was instrumental in the founding of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Tacugama, Sierra Leone’s first and only wildlife sanctuary, plays a critical role in protecting the country’s rich biodiversity, two of Freetown’s main water catchments and the critically endangered chimpanzees.

Since its establishment, the sanctuary has become internationally recognized, benefiting Sierra Leone’s people through jobs, wildlife protection, environmental education, ecotourism, research and health initiatives. Dr Goodall continues to provide inspiration to Tacugama by guiding and inspiring the Sanctuary’s future.

“We look forward to welcoming back Dr. Jane Goodall,” said Mrs. Fatima Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone.

“Her visit allows us to share Sierra Leone’s story with the world and to revitalize the international image of our country, which is critical for the development of sustainable tourism, conservation, and economic development. The beauty of our natural diversity, wildlife and culture is also a story that we want to share,” Mrs. Bio said (Photo).

Dr. Goodall’s visit comes at a time when wildlife tourism, conservation, and sustainability are taking top billing on the global tourism stage.  Her stature as a world-leading-conservationist, provides an important global platform for Sierra Leone’s growth as a new tourism destination.

The visit will showcase the country’s sustainable tourism offerings and increase awareness of the need for conservation of these critically endangered species. It will also highlight the clear link between conservation and sustainable tourism.

Commented on her upcoming visit to Sierra Leone, Dr. Jane Goodall – founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, said: “I’m looking forward to my visit to Sierra Leone and proud of the impact the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary has had on saving the country’s remaining chimpanzees while providing needed jobs for local people. I am particularly excited to meet the children of Sierra Leone and share with them my Roots and Shoots program. They are our future hope.”

On the morning of Wednesday, 27th February, Dr. Jane Goodall will tour the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and there will be a press interview. Later in the evening, there will be a State Dinner hosted by the First Lady – Fatima Bio.

On Thursday, 28th February at 6pm, Dr. Jane Goodall will be speaking at the Bintumani Conference Hall, in an event organized and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, which will also be attended by Mrs. Fatima Bio.

And on the final day of her three-day visit – Friday, 1st March, 300 children will march from the government’s Youyi Building to the Cotton Tree in central Freetown, and then onwards to the British Council where Dr. Jane Goodall will address the children and talk about her ‘Roots and Shoots’ program. Freetown Mayor – Yvonne Aki-Sawyer will also be speaking at this event.

Jane’s visit to Sierra Leone (a country known in Creole as Salone) comes at the perfect time, as the destination prepares to reintroduce itself on the world tourism stage.

Most people continue to associate Sierra Leone with its troubled past, so the goal now is to propel the destination into the future, showcasing the results of the its transformation into the next “must visit” location for both leisure and business travelers.

“We are excited to show our “only-in-Sierra Leone” offerings, many of which will surprise world travelers,” said Mrs. Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism, Sierra Leone.

“Sierra Leone offers world class beaches, stunning endemic wildlife, rich culture and historical sites, adventure travel, exquisite local cuisine, and a warm and welcoming people, that make our country one of Africa’s most promising new tourism destinations,” minister Pratt said.

Sierra Leone has one of the highest densities of chimpanzees in the wild anywhere in the world. Adventure travelers can also find little-seen wildlife such as the endangered Diana monkey in the forests of Tiwai Island on the Moa river, three types of colobus monkeys, rare birds and pygmy hippos.

Sierra Leone recently opened a new Tourist Information Office in the capital city of Freetown, near the historic Cotton Tree, the oldest cotton tree in Freetown or possibly in the world and synonymous with freedom of the earlier settlers. That and the launch of a new Tourism In-Flight Traveltainment Magazine and investment in infrastructure are seen as important steps forward for the sector.

To begin to showcase all this incredible country has to offer to the world, Michaela Guzy, Executive Producer, Director, Writer, Influencer and On-Air Talent for OTPYM (Oh The People You Meet), and David DiGregorio, founder of CornerSun Destination Marketing, will be in Sierra Leone to cover the series of Jane Goodall events.

Michaela will capture on film, the wildlife, beaches, people and natural offerings of this relatively undiscovered country. The film will be shown at a special screening in New York City in early spring, to set the stage for Sierra Leone’s tourism renewal in 2020.

“The Jane Goodall visit, and announcement provides us with an amazing first-hand opportunity to show the combination of a rich conservation history and unknown adventure experiences visitors can eventually enjoy,” said Guzy.We are sierraously excited to share the secrets of Sierra Leone with the world, and who better to introduce Sierra Leone as a sustainable tourism destination than Jane Goodall?”

For more information, contact: The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone info@sierraleonenationaltouristboard.gov.sl or info@ntb.gov.sl.

About Jane Goodall Institute

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring action to conserve the natural world. JGI improves the lives of people, animals and the environment.

Founded in 1977 by Dr. Goodall, JGI makes a difference through community-centered conservation and the innovative use of science and technology. JGI works closely with local communities around the world, inspiring hope through the collective power of individual action. Through Roots & Shoots, JGI’s youth-led community action and learning program, young people in nearly 80 countries are acquiring the knowledge and skills to become compassionate conservation leaders in their own backyards.

6 Comments

  1. A big problem for tourists is not being able to get cash on credit/debit cards. Tourists need to bring large amounts of cash to the country, which is dangerous. Some cash can be taken from ATMs in Freetown, but only a small amount in Leones. Only a few very expensive hotels will accept credit/debit cards. The SL government needs to work with banks to allow tourists to take cash at banks with their credit/debit cards.

  2. Thank God and thank you Mrs. Bio – he madam and first lady of our beloved country Sierra Leone, we love you so much and also proud of you. Keep it up the good job. May you live for long.

  3. Firstly but surely clean up Serra Leone: Your beaches are filthy, your streets littered with tons of plastic, roads unsafe, extreme begging is ongoing, which starts when you land – immigration ask for small tin. Change some attitudes. No one will buy a ticket to come to a waste-dump. Wake up wake up, words do not clean Salone alone. Action towards normal behaviour of cleaning is mandatory, otherwise not a chance for tourist boom. And not forget the corruption is just too huge a burden.

    • Andrew Smith, please come down from your ivory tower. All the problems that you listed are characteristic of developing countries. Yet tourism still goes on. If poorer countries in the Caribbean can develop tourism, African countries like Sierra Leone can surely do the same.

  4. Well done to our First Lady Mrs Fatima Bio to welcome back Dr Goodall to help promote our tourism back in Sierra Leone. May the Almighty God answer our prayers. One country one people.

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