The West African country of Sierra Leone is witnessing a dramatic change of fortune. Tourists from the UK, US, European and Asian countries are making the capital Freetown their prime holiday destination after tour operators recently discovered the huge tourist potential this small African country has to offer. Thousands of tourists are booking flights long in advance for upcoming holidays as news begin to filter around the tourist world about this little holiday gem that is poised to take the world by storm.
The Sierra Leone government is taking steps to meet the sudden rise in demand for hotel rooms and resorts that are geared for an overwhelming influx of visitors this summer. This government has worked very hard to showcase the potential of its country and recently held an investment conference where the world’s leading investors were presented with a showcase of what this country has to offer
Little did the world knew that the most beautiful beaches with pure white sands and untouched coastline were located on this Portuguese discovered land of beauty. The immaculately trimmed natural harbour is one of the most visible landmark of the country’s beauty as one enters the coastline of this small paradise. Sierra Leone’s beauty was first discovered by a Portuguese explorer, Pedro Da Cinta, by accident. And the country’s history documented how this explorer thought he had taken the wrong route to another part of Europe. He had to contend with the geographical position of his compass and come to terms with the fact that he must be witnessing a miracle. He was face to face with one of the most beautiful discoveries of his navigational tour around the world.
Not only does the country provide an unprecedented natural beauty to its visitors, it matches it’s amazing scenery with an untapped precious mineral deposit that boasts some of the finest Diamonds ever mined in the world. The Star of Sierra Leone is one of the largest and most beautiful diamond the world has ever seen. In fact oil has just been discovered in a country that is already a leading exporter of Bauxite and Iron Ore.
5 star hotels employ a tantalizing scenery as one tours the blue-sea coated sandy beaches. The sudden calmness that greets the visitor would leave an awesome temptation to make you think you have accidentally landed in paradise. Visitors might be tempted to overstay their visas and are highly advised to make proper consular arrangements. Sierra leone has some of the most beautiful women in the world with curvelines that make models at the New York Fashion show look like a joke!
This dramatic transformation the world is witnessing has been largely due to the unflinching commitment by the country’s Head of State who has identified the key benefits of an overhaul in the country’s tourist industry. The government’s commitment to tourism cannot be over-emphasised. President Ernest Bai Koroma is ensuring that tourism plays a significant part in his Agenda for Change and is lobbying very hard that stakeholders make the development of the country’s tourism industry a priority.
Sierra Leone’s President Koroma has backed plans to make the 75,000-hectare Gola Forest his country’s second national park, and thus protecting more than 50 mammal species including leopards, chimps and forest elephants, 2,000 different plants and 274 species of bird of which 14 are close to extinction. The area, close to the Liberian border, will become the flagship site in a new national park network with local communities paid annually to replace royalties linked to logging and diamond mining in the forest.
The European Commission and French government are both contributing more than £3 million towards the training of more than 100 staff to patrol Gola’s boundaries, monitor wildlife and run education programmes. Scientists will be encouraged to study the wildlife of the area which is expected to become a hub for eco-tourism in the country. President Koroma is planning to establish six more national parks in Sierra Leone to develop tourism as the country prepares to fully embrace eco-tourism.
Visitors are assured of a pleasant trip and a beautiful stay as the infectious warmth and kindness of the people will surely leave an indelible impression that will see the return of many in holydays to come.
First published on Newstime Africa - March 17, 2011.
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