Liberia: Tourism Sector ‘Badly’ Hit As A Result Of Covid-19 Outbreak

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MONROVIA – The Assistant Minister for Tourism at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Madam Princess Turkolon, says the tourism sector in Liberia and other parts of the world has been greatly affected as a result of the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

President George Manneh Weah announced the outbreak of Covid-19 in Liberia in March 2020.

Since then, government has taken series of measures to curtail the spread of the deadly virus including the imposition of a state of emergency, the extension of a lockdown process on three (3) separate occasions, and restricting of citizens’ movements, amongst others.

Minister Turkolon said the tourism sector in Liberia remains faced with numerous constraints; something which is responsible for the decline in revenue generation from the sector.

She maintained that since the outbreak, not much has been generated from tourism.

She made these comments on Wednesday, May 20 in a telephone interview with FrontPageAfrica.

Minister Turkolon added that the sector is the worst and badly hit sectors in not only Liberia, but other countries around the world following the outbreak of the pandemic.

She noted that limited attention or lukewarm attitude paid to the tourism sector over the years has negatively affected revenue generation from the sector and immensely contributed to the increase in unemployment in Liberia.

She noted that out of the over 64 tourism sites visited, many tourists do not find interest in visiting most of these sites because of numerous factors, including bad road conditions.

“The worldwide outbreak of Covid-19 has brought the tourism industry to a standstill. Tourism has been the worst affected industry right now. Travellers or tourists are no longer visiting tourism sites. We had lot of good dreams through the government and stakeholders prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, but we are on the standby to boost tourism in Liberia after the pandemic” she stated.

Minister Turkolon further pointed out that bulk of these tourist destinations remain “underdeveloped” in Liberia, something which discourages travellers visitations and short stay.

She named the historic Providence Island, the Kpatawee Water Fall, Joseph J. Roberts Monument, Lake Piso, and the National Museum among others as tourism sites that have been mostly visited in Liberia.

She disclosed that minimum fees collected from tourists who visited these areas are used to give the sites a facelift, and compensate tourist guards and other caretakers at these facilities.

Minister Turkolon added that though these tourist guards and caretakers are being paid by government, they are most often compensated separated for their efforts and roles being applied or played to ensure that these sites are conducive to attract tourists and students who are normally taught the historicity of these sites during their visits.

Speaking further, the Assistant Information Minister for Tourism expressed dismay over the alleged partial scrapping of one of the ships that brought the first group of freed slaves to Liberia at the Providence Island.

According to her, the ship, which is unusable, was being scrapped by unscrupulous individuals she called “criminals,” but steps have been taken by authorities to arrest the situation.

She further expressed the hope that the sector would help attract investment and create job opportunities for 

Minister Turkolon, however, used this medium to call on Liberians to take preventive measures by following the health protocols to defeat Covid-19 in the country.

“We pray that this pandemic will leave us so that we can commence from where we stop. Tourism is the only gateway for Liberia when we all work together. All of the counties that I visited-and every county each of us come from there is a tourism attraction. And so, we all can join together and help mama Liberia boost tourism and get the bad image off our country”.

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