As part of their support to Sierra Leone’s tourism sector, Invest Salone attended the prestigious annual World Travel Market in London, 6–8 November, with two of Sierra Leone’s leading tourism and destination management companies (DMCs) – Visit Sierra Leone and Tourism is Life.
Last year, the World Travel Market welcomed over 35,000 professionals from 184 countries. This year’s figures increased by 22% to 43,727. This extensive reach makes World Travel Market an efficient and cost-effective option to showcase the services of Sierra Leone’s DMCs to international tour and travel companies, as well as the world’s media.
Invest Salone and specialist travel and tourism consultant, Ms. Kate Kenward, organised a comprehensive itinerary for Visit Sierra Leone and Tourism is Life. This focused on buyer outreach and promotional activities, including meetings with nine tour operators, and with important travel trade groups and associations such as the West Africa Tourism Association, the Africa Travel and Tourism Association and the Air Promotion Group.
Sierra Leone has experienced significant positive economic impact from its growing tourism industry over the past decade, and the government has identified the sector as vital for diversifying the economy. As well as working collaboratively with DMCs to enhance their competitiveness, growth and visitor readiness, Invest Salone’s work to support the sector includes providing trade data and market analysis to the travel industry and policymakers, organising familiarisation visits for specialist international tour operators and facilitating feedback between domestic and international stakeholders.
Ms. Avril Pratt, consultant with Invest Salone, said that trade fairs like World Travel Market can be an excellent way to grow tourism exports. “The money that overseas visitors inject into our economy through tourism plays a key role in creating employment, stimulating regional development and supporting local communities, and we are delighted to be part of showcasing Sierra Leone to the global market. The face-to-face connections made at trade shows like World Travel Market are invaluable in selling the services of local DMCs to a wider international community. It was encouraging to see how enthusiasm is growing for Sierra Leone’s unique blend of beautiful beaches, adventure, culture and nature,” she added.
Mr. Alieya Alie Kargbo, CEO of Sierra Leonean Tourism company Tourism is Life, said: “For Sierra Leonean tour operators, such as Tourism is Life, international events like World Travel Market are an opportunity to display Sierra Leone’s rich tourism potential, create links with existing and future customers, and gauge interest in our offerings. There was a marked shift in Sierra Leone’s presence at this year’s World Travel Market. There were many more visitors to the Sierra Leone stand and visibly increased interest in Sierra Leone as a destination. Another bonus is that our image has undergone a positive change, and we are now seen as an exciting destination for adventurous tourists.”
For more information on Invest Salone’s work in the tourism sector, visit our website: investsalone.com