Unspoiled The Place, Tokeh, Sierra Leone reaches out to Nigerian tour operators, market

 A sense of adventure is required to be tempted by this small West African nation, but Sierra Leone has more for visitors to discover than just its thought-provoking history.

One of the attractions to Sierra Leone is The Place Resort, Tokeh, which has become Sierra Leone’s Premier Beach Resort.

Inspired by all four of the older resorts opened six years ago is fast welcoming the same amount of international guests and help put Sierra Leone back on the map for all of the right reasons.

The Managing Director of the privately owned premier beach resort, Mr. Vinod Kumar Bahugama said he came all the way from Sierra Leone to tap into the Nigerian market and to promote tourism in Sierra Leone as well as the resort.

Bahugama who is on a week-long working visit to Nigeria met with tourism stakeholders, tour operators and other business partners said, ‘You are never far away from the Beach. We do a lot of destination weddings. We do group retreats and all types of business. I have worked in the Gambia before. We used to receive a lot of Nigerians in the Gambia. When I took a study about Nigerian market, I said Nigerians are going to The Gambia, Seychelles, Mauritius; they are not coming to Sierra Leone. I asked for the reason behind it.

‘I told myself that it may be that we are not doing enough marketing in the Nigerian market. That is what we are doing and trying to achieve by coming to Nigeria to talk to tour operators, Nigerian people so that we can tap into this market, show Nigerian people what Sierra Leone is all about. The beaches that we have are like virgin beaches. They are amazingly good, better than Ghana, Senegal, The Gambia and are as good as what you see in Seychelles and Mauritius’.

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He further noted that the response from the Nigerian market has been very good, stressing that people are ready to explore.

He explained that Nigerians are very curious people and are doing everything to ensure that tourism grows not only in Nigeria but in Africa because of the country’s position as the biggest economy in the continent.

‘The response has been very positive. We are trying to do familiarisation tour by bringing key tour operators in Nigeria to our place, show them around and give them a tour. We want to do this, so that when they come back, they can easily sell tourism in Sierra Leone’.

He stated that stakeholders should help to develop tourism in Africa, describing tourism potentials in Africa as very huge, noting that the responsibility should be that of everyone with a conscious effort to ensure that people are encouraged to visit Africa.

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‘The responsibility should be on everyone instead of taking their money somewhere in United Kingdom, United States.  I think they need to think of saying they should put the money back in Africa. This money is going to help a lot of Africans’.

Given these trends, the travel and tourism industry has significant potential in Africa, notably due to the continent’s richness in natural resources and its potential to further develop cultural heritage, e.g., music.

 However, except in a few countries, such as Mauritius and Seychelles, where the tourism sector’s share of the economy is particularly large, tourism in Africa is still at an early stage of development and strongly connected with more general and longstanding development challenges, including infrastructure and security.

 

He stated that he had slated a meeting with the management of Air Peace next week Monday after raising flight concerns on the need for flights to Freetown to be regular, reduction in fares.

He said he was happy with response from the airline for partnership which he said would be a win-win situation for customers, tour operators and the airline.

 ‘These are the issues am trying to speak with them about. If we partner Air Peace, it is good for them, it is good for us because they will get more customers and our customers will get better rate. It will be easy for the tour operators to sell Sierra Leone as a destination because the prices are low’.

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The resort combines comfort, style and relaxed atmosphere, where you can feel at home in a charming environment and also caters for destination events and retreats.

The Place Resort Tokeh in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Tourism & Cultural Affairs/The National Tourist Board hosted a few Nigerians in Sierra Leone late March. They had a great time.

Sierra Leone has some of the world’s most beautiful pristine white and unspoilt beaches (Tokeh Beach, Lumley Beach, River No 2 Beach etc, Banana Island, York Island and Bunce Island among others)

One can enjoy a variety of escursions including water sporting activities – Snorkelling, Jetskiing etc, Bird watching tours, Fishing tours, Community tours, Eco tours, cultural tours, historical tours and visit the many Tourist attractions in Freetown & the Penninsula.

These include the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the Cotton Tree, Railway National Museum, Peace Museum among others, or you can be adventurous and go Mountain Climbing, Hiking etc

Wole Shadare

COMMENTS

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