Sierra Leonean Minister Attributes Insufficient,Lack Of Integrated Marketing Bane Of West Africa Tourism
As the Akwaaba African Travel Market((AFTM) begins today, the Sierra Leonean Tourism Minister, Dr. Memunatu Pratt has said that the lack of sufficient marketing of both natural and heritage sites in the West Africa sub region is one of the reasons tourists don’t know or visit these sites.
This is just as she said that tourism is the reason the countries in the West African sub region have not been able to leverage on tourism simply because they have not leveraged on connectivity.
He said this in Lagos while speaking to select aviation journalists at Akwaaba fun/welcome party at Wave Beach, Elegushi area, Lekki, Lagos yesterday.
The Fun/Welcome Party is part of the activities lined up for the 18th Akwaaba African Travel Market scheduled for October 31st to November 1,2022.
Speaking further, she said that marketing the tourism sites in West Africa will further create awareness for tourists who are ever ready to visit and explore new things.
She pointed out that countries in the region have not been able to adequately market tourism sites in the region to make tourists know where the sites are.
She advocated for an integrated marketing approach for the region’s efforts to yield the desired results.
“One of the things we are not doing enough is marketing. Our marketing of our natural resources, products and sites has not been enough. Our marketing has been towards the domestic, may be consumer and trade related. But we have not been able to market West Africa as it should, wherein people will know what is here and what is there. We know the tour operators are doing well but an integrated approach will make a lot of difference.
“Today, people are talking about the Economic Community of West Africa States(ECOWAS) Visa wherein if you have an ECOWAS Visa as a tourist, you can go to Accra, you can go to Lome., so we have to think about integrated marketing. Then also let us put together the facilities and the opportunities that are available. There should also be airline arrangements. If somebody comes with an ECOWAS Visa, there may be some discounts.
“What is important is that it drives businesses; you see people coming to do hotels, coming to expand entertainment facilities, sponsoring local artists, film industry, it all drives the process of the development of the economy,” She declared.
Marketing, she said should not only be strategic but should also be in an integrated fashion, but she however lamented that the countries in the sub region are not on the same pedestal.
She called on the sub region to begin to advocate and conscientise by providing the kind ownership that is required, adding that getting people to understand that this is the way to go at the level of government, civil society, the media and also the private sector is a good way to go