On Wednesday 26th July 2017, the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone ( NTB), played host to certain Sierra Leoneans who are eager and enthusiastic in complimenting the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs ( MTCA ) and the NTB in ensuring that Sierra Leone is adequately marketed locally and internationally so that the country and her citizens enjoys the plethora of benefits associated with Tourism adequately and appropriately, amid international recognition.
The meeting which took place at the Board Room of the NTB assembled Sierra Leoneans from different professions who are gravitating towards forming a synergy for the development of Tourism in the Country, thus formed an Association called ‘ASSET’ (Association of Small Scale Enterprise in Tourism ). The Association involves Sierra Leoneans in the trade of Gara tieing and dying, Tourist Taxi drivers, craft market vendors, official tourist guides, guest houses and ground tour operators etc..
Addressing the gathering, the General Manager of the NTB, Mr. Yassin Kolleh Kargbo hailed the initiators of the idea of forming such important association, something he termed as “a laudable venture and the right step towards the right direction”, he assured them of the full support of the NTB, noting that “with my formidable management at the NTB, we will give you all the requite support for the enhancement of success in this association, we shall introduce you to the Minister of Tourism and later to the SME directorate” he noted. He however called on them to put their differences aside and forget about self gains and work towards the development of the association and the Tourism Industry.
MARKETING BEAUTIFUL SIERRA LEONE
Furthermore, giving her contribution to the gathering, the Deputy General Manager of the NTB, Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie, maintained that NTB is a government institution and that, government seeks to help big and formidable organisations/associations like the ASSET which comprises of different other small organisations with people of different backgrounds and trades, adding that “looking at the magnitude of this association, you will definitely attract funding from Government and implementing partners alike” she added. Similar sentiments were expressed by Madam Lucinda Mariam Kargbo, Marketing Manager and Mr. Abrahim Turay, License, Classification and Quality Control Manager all of NTB.
Mr. Umaru Woody, Manager, Planning and product development department of the NTB chaired the program, he called on the members of the Association to emulate the Gambia and amplify tourism in the Country “We should turn this discussion to reality, start to bring on board innovative programs that will raise awareness about Tourism in the Country and we will give you all the needed support” he said.
ASSET’s future goals include the training of large numbers of personnel working in tourism, the development and implementation of industry wide standards and the marketing of the diverse and excellent services that are provided by ASSET members.
Some of the Benefits of ASSET membership includes, — Effective Marketing of Products and Services Through: *Networking within members, Calender and Showcase, Brochure, Map, Website, Free HIV Awareness Trading, Free Customer Care Training, Free Computer Training, Advice on product development, Advice on product diversity, Facilitate access to grants and Lobby for Members with Stakeholders and Relevant Authorities*
*ASSET’s AIMS & OBJECTIVES :*
ASSET’s aim is to assist and support small scale enterprises in tourism to trade fairly and pursue sustainable development which contributes to the conservation of the physical environment and the social economic welfare of the community Sierra Leone.
Contribute to improving the Tourism product in Sierra Leone and help to bring development for the Country.
Provide assistance to members with product development, marketing, training, quality control and access to finance .
Work collaboratively, promote networking and joint activities amongst members .
Develop partnerships with government, other institutions and external organisations where appropriate.
Contribute to sustainable development within Sierra Leone Tourism Industry using principles and practice of fair trade in tourism.
Identify appropriate quality standards for members .
The furtherance of good relations between ASSET and similar organisations in other countries.
The protection of small – scale business interests in the mass market tourist industry.
These were some of the statements put forward by Denis Kamara – Director , Technical Planning and Development and Mr. Alhajie A. Sesay, Director of Program all of ASSET Sierra Leone.
© *MOHAMED ALIEU BAH*