Sierra Leone is expanding its tourism horizons and, after a successful visit from world-renowned conservationist Jane Goodall, the country is ramping up tourism promotion and making it easier for travelers to visit.
The new program was revealed during a State Dinner held in honor of Goodall, who visited the nation last week.
“We are working towards putting infrastructure in place to declare Sierra Leone a visa-free country, which means so many people around the world can just jump on a plane and come to Sierra Leone and get a visa on arrival,” said Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, vice president of Sierra Leone.
“This country does not have a lot of foreign Missions across the world so the best way you can encourage tourists, business people and investors to come is to make things easy for them. We are also looking at instituting an eVisa system which means you could sit down in your home and apply for your visa electronically to come to Sierra Leone. We are investing in infrastructure,” added Jalloh.
There is an increasing focus on tourism within Sierra Leone recently. The country has made a strong effort to lead the way in conservation and is reemerging as a wildlife and sustainable tourism powerhouse.
“[Tourism] means a lot for the future of Sierra Leone. We see it as an entry point for rebranding Sierra Leone. We want to send a strong signal to the world that Sierra Leone is open for business and also for tourism. We see the tourism sector as one of the vehicles to drive diversification of the economy. We see that it is able to stimulate growth and also build an economic base that offers jobs for boys and girls across the country,” said Jalloh.
During Goodall’s visit, she was presented with the Order of the Rokel, Sierra Leone’s highest and most prestigious decoration, in recognition of her diligent and committed work to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the conservation of the biodiversity in the country.
“What an honor, I am truly, truly humbled. I don’t really feel I deserve this, but I want to assure you that I will do my level best to do everything I can do help conservation in Sierra Leone,” said Goodall upon receiving the honor.
Goodall is committed to continuing to help Sierra Leone.
“I am committed to doing what I can in Sierra Leone,” she added. “You have wonderful forests that people from around the world would be excited to visit. I thank you for this. It is very special to me. It’s very moving. Thank you.”
During Goodall’s visit, Sierra Leone also announced that the chimpanzee will serve as the country’s national animal.
It is expected that this new designation, along with the positive role chimpanzees and their habitats play in providing direct and indirect benefits to local communities and Goodall’s visit will showcase the country’s sustainable tourism efforts.
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