Liberian Group calls for Sustainable, Responsible Tourism in Liberia
Monrovia – The Liberia National Tourism Association has been launched in Monrovia with a call for a sustainable and responsible tourism in Liberia.
According to the Chairman of LINTA, Madam Mai Urey, there are lots of prospects and avenues for large revenue generation in the industry, as such; the need for a rebranding and showing Liberia’s tourists-attractive areas to the world remains a priority.
Madam Urey said the organization aims at helping the government improve livelihood for its citizens and strengthen the tourism sector in order to attract investors and tourists to the country.
“Our well-grounded culture and rich heritage are found in several tourists sites around us and we must endeavor to develop them,” she said.
She prayed the intervention and coordination of the government as well as international partners to adequately support LINTA’s initiative to develop its eco-tourism environment.
“LINTA cannot do this on her own even though we have some projects but the needed support from everyone is welcomed,” she suggested.
In response, the deputy minister for culture and tourism at MICAT, Min. Lance Gbagonyon lauded LINTA for said initiative and promised the government’s unwavering support to improving the sector.
“Your plans listed here today is found in the ministry’s strategic plan for tourism, so we welcome all efforts for collaboration”, Minister Gbagonyon.
Also speaking, Commerce and Industry Minister Wilson Tarpeh acknowledged that tourism is an area of development, noting that Liberia, which is a private sector driven economy, will see more development under the Pro-Poor agenda.
Min. Tarpeh wants Liberian entrepreneurs’ step forward with innovative ideas in bringing development to the country.
At the organization’s launch, five cardinal immediate projects were presented for implementation over the next one year period.
LINTA’s Vice Chairman, Rudolph Antoune, named the destination development, communication, visa on arrival, sustainable tourism and hospitality training for workers of the industry.
Mr. Antoune said there is a need for the reduction of airport taxes in order to make Liberia most affordable to tourists and other investors. He disclosed that the creation of an autonomous Tourism Authority will help alleviate some of the challenges facing the industry.
Currently, tourism is a sub-department under the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism.
As part of the launch, The Gambia, who according to the leadership has been a motivation to LINTA’s establishment, congratulated the team and promised continuous work for the growth of the organization.
LINTA was established in 2014 by champions of the industry including Madam Shedrain Howard, Dawn Barnes among others, to showcase and breathe life into the industry.
The deadly Ebola epidemic stalled the organization’s operation and its membership thus leading to the revitalization in recent years.
Report by Lisa Diasay, FPA Contributor