The first cruise ship after the end of the ebola scourge on Tuesday docked at the Aberdeen Cape Lighthouse shore with 107 tourists on-board.
The guests were welcomed by the newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Sidie Yahya Tunis.
Addressing the Sliver Sea expeditions Shore excursion manager, Nadia Eckhardt, the Minister said that the cruise ship would give opportunity to let other people know how peaceful and beautiful Sierra Leone is.
“You’ve done well for us and we want you to triple the number of tourists coming to Sierra Leone,” the minister averred. He emphasized that the venture is “part of rebranding [process] of Sierra Leone.”
The minister also encouraged the visitors, which would be spending only a day in Sierra Leone to extend their stay whenever they are in Sierra Lone again. “Next time make your visit a couple of days; we have so many wonderful sites for you to explore,” he assured.
The minister expressed his appreciation to the Visit Sierra Leone Team which facilitated the coming of the cruise ship to Sierra Leone.
He explained that though the tourists are in Sierra Leone for a day, they are fully engaged with series of activities. “They would be visiting Tacaguma Sanctuary, Lakka Amputee Hospital and of the Lumley Beach where they would be having an exciting soccer match in the evening with the staff of Visit Sierra Leone.”
The tourism minister revealed that they’ve been assured that “the cruise ship will continue to come with more guests to Sierra Leone.”
“Hopefully, in the near future we would be having more cruise ships sailing in to Sierra Leone with lots of tourists on board,” he said.
Speaking about the future of Sierra Leone tourism industry, the minister said “we have great potential, we just have to let the world know that Sierra Leone is a good and beautiful tourist destination and that is why I’ve said that my focus is going to be more on rebranding; we have to rebrand and market this country; let the world know that we have a beautiful peaceful country were tourists can come in and relax, where investors can also come in and invest in the tourist sector. This is my goal and my focus is going to be on that; I’ll work with all of the groups and organizations that are working with tourist organizations across the world to ensure that we open up our country to tourists across the world,” he explained.
Speaking about the Sliver Ship expedition, Nadia Eckhardt said the Sliver Explore started its voyage on the 23rd of March in Cape Town, South Africa, adding “we would travel all the way up the coast with our last stop being Dakar.”
She explained that “the Sliver explore has been to Sierra Leone before a couple of years ago,” adding, “this is the third official visit but we are excited to be back because we were not able to come last year.”