One of Sierra Leone’s finest beaches, Solima, has been declared as a tourism development destination.
President Julius Maada Bio declared the beach over the weekend while on a visit to the southern Pujehun District. Bio, who was taken on a conducted tour of the beach together with the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr Memunatu Pratt, had the opportunity to showcase the beauty of Sulima beach.
Sulima is a coastal town that links Sierra Leone to Liberia by sea. It is known for its natural endowments, segmented ports for fishing and over 40 kilometres of beach layout.
Last year, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, with support from UNDP, trained women of Sulima on entrepreneurship development skills for alternative livelihood enhancement, for which the Minister was pleased to see the display of Handicrafts by the trainee beneficiaries.
In a statement, Dr Pratt told President Bio that just after she was appointed Minister in 2018, she undertook a general study of tourism development in the country and found out that Sulima had huge potential because of its over 40 kilometres of beach and very rich culture, noting that if developed it would create jobs and improve the lives of the people of Sulima.
Dr Pratt said the Ministry interviewed people of Sulima and realized that even though they were engaged in fishing, they needed alternative livelihood to improve their living conditions. She added that it was against that backdrop that the Ministry, with support from UNDP, conducted a series of skills training for women.
Dr Pratt further revealed that the Ministry was trying to incorporate women of Sulima into the MUNAFA Micro Enterprise Programme that was recently launched by President Bio. She maintained that the purpose of the visit to the renowned fishing community was to survey its 40 kilometres beach to ascertain its shape and design and to have a tourism development plan for the town, noting that the beach is strategically located very close to Liberia, supported by a rich island that is good for investment.
Pratt assured the president that with tourism as one of the key areas to transforming the economy, Sulima presents “a very big opportunity” because it is a virgin area and that the Ministry’s intervention there would become prosperous by using tourism to eliminate poverty in the country.
Addressing the people of Sulima, President Bio assured that his government wanted to make it a centre for tourism, where people could be coming from Freetown and even abroad to spend quality time.
To achieve that, Bio called on the people of Sulima to play a good host to tourists, noting that for tourism to thrive, the community has a pivotal role to play. He also commended the women for the display of their handicrafts.
The president went on to remind the people of Sulima that they were part of Sierra Leone and he assured them that development will reach them.
Surveying the Sulima 40 kilometres beach, President Bio said the visit is to showcase Sulima beach, and he, therefore, invited all Sierra Leoneans to enjoy the beauty of the country. He noted that he was impressed with the beach, which was why his government was promoting local tourism.