October 26, 2005 —
For the past year and a half, VisitSierraLeone.org ( http://www.visitsierraleone.org ) has been showing off Sierra Leone’s tourism potential. Now in collaboration with TVE and Explore Worldwide this has been taken one step further following the filming of a documentary looking at Sierra Leone’s tourism Industry.
Head of VisitSierraLeone, Bimbola Carrol spent a week with the film crew exploring potential adventure tourism areas such as Outamba Kilimi National Park in the North and Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary in the South. Whilst at River Number 2 beach, where a commercial for Bounty (chocolate) was filmed in the 80s Mr Carrol said, “It’s amazing, this is truly one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen – a tropical paradise.”
However, he still acknowledges that Sierra Leone has more to do to promote itself. Sierra Leone is safe to visit but some people are still apprehensive because of the negative images which came out of the country during its 11 year civil war. We need all stakeholders in the industry to play a part in tackling these negative perceptions still held by so many. I hope this documentary will go some way in tackling this issue.
There has already been some positive feedback from the film ( http://www.tve.org/lifeonline/ ) which was shown on BBC World during the last week and will get its debut on Sierra Leone National Television shortly.
Mr. Terry, an American businessman in Germany contacted him saying: “I have seen the BBC programme referred to in your October 20, 2005 news item on tourism and eco-tourism in Sierra Leone. I was very impressed with the work that you and others featured in the programme have accomplished down in Sierra Leone.”
“I and my business partners look forward someday soon to visiting Sierra Leone to witness the beauty of your country firsthand, to meet the people there, and to examine closely the investment and business opportunities that you and your colleagues have made so apparently clear do exist in Sierra Leone today.”
John Marlique, a resident of Spain also said: “I saw the documentary on Sierra Leone this morning. It is fabulous. Thanks a lot for your efforts to bringing Sierra Leone to the light for all to see. We live in Spain, and this piece will go a long way in our efforts to persuade the people to invest into that country.”
Mr Carrol also stated that this is hopefully the kick-start that the Tourism Industry in Sierra Leone needs and the more coverage the film gets the better. “We are looking for broadcasters in the United States to show this programme on their network so that the potential of Sierra Leone is examined by the investors in that country”.