Liberia joined its counterparts around the World to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the United Nations World Tourism Organization or UNWTO or Word Tourism Day – observed each year around the world by member states.
This year’s celebrations took place in Buchanan, Grand Bassa county on Monday, September, 28, 2015 under the theme: ‘1 Billion Tourists, 1 Billion opportunities’. It brought together officials of government, members of the diplomatic corps, citizens of Grand Bassa County, as well as stakeholders and members of the civil society.
Delivering the keynote address, Nigeria’s Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Chigozie Obi-Chigozie, emphasized the need for a holistic engagement to improve tourism in Liberia. Ambassador Obi-Chigozie also expressed the need for a holistic approach to tourism development, management and monitoring, indicating that such approach was strongly recommended in order to formulate and implement national and local tourism policies, as well as the necessary international agreements or other processes with respect to tourism.
She further noted that tourism plays a major role in the economic development of a nation, especially a developing country like Liberia. “Tourism touches the lives of everyone, regardless of age, sex, race and status in society, and as such, everyone must get involved in order to help Liberia’s development process. Tourism is used for major income generation for many countries across the world,” the Nigerian Diplomat added, urging Liberians to be innovative by identifying historical sites in the country to claim the attention of investors and other travelers – something, she said, would improve Liberia’s tourism sector.
“Liberians should begin to think outside the box and identify places that make them unique; it is also important to have an annual festival to grab the attention of tourists around the world,” she admonished. According to her, Liberia can be a better country for tourists to visit because there are resources, as well as cultures, among others, that make them unique among other countries in the World, but it requires innovation and proper cooperation to bring out the best the country can offer.
She noted that the promotion of tourism is imperative for Liberians to promote their heritage, stressing that tourism in Liberia can be used to help improve the living conditions of its citizens. “Recently, people from less developed parts of the world and others, for reasons of savings, have started what is now called medical tourism or vacation in search of cheaper, but effective healthcare services. Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity that is commonly associated with international travel, but may also refer to travel to another place within the same country,” she explained.
Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis G. Brown described the celebration as significant because of the need for Liberia’s Tourism sector to be prioritized. Minister Brown expressed the belief that Liberia had a lot off tourist attractions that needed to be developed in order to improve the country’s economy, noting that the culture and history of Liberia are unique.-
By Lewis S. Teh Edited by George Barpeen