Find Tourism and Travel partners in Sierra Leone
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimate that in 2011 travel and tourism made a total contribution of 7.3% of Sierra Leone’s GDP. Consequently the WTTC ranked the country 114th out of 181 nations worldwide in terms of relative contribution of tourism to the economy, 6.7% below the world average. Tourism’s contribution to GDP was set to rise by 5.5% pa over the coming decade (2011). The industry supports 6.3% of total employment, which is set to rise in line with growth in the sector meaning that by 2022 it is estimated that the sector will directly and indirectly employ 100,000 people. Visitor exports generated 10.3% of total exports in 2011 which is also forecast to increase. In 2010 Sierra Leone received 39,000 visitors.
A new tourism development act has been put in place, modelled on a similar Gambian development plan. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture is looking to create a solid and stable tourism climate to highlight the country’s unique cultural diversity. The restoration of Bunce Island, the Lumley Beach Development Project and the refurbishing of government owned hotels leased to the private sector are key projects of the ministry. The Sierra Leone Tourist Board points out the investment potential for ecotourism in the country, which has attracted interest but is underdeveloped at present. Infrastructure is also in need of development and the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) is the official body for helping and informing potential investors and exporters. At present the main tourist attractions are beaches and wildlife reserves. There is investment potential for a surfing industry although the best sites are currently difficult to access. ‘Voluntourism’, particularly related to agriculture, is growing in the country and has great scope for development.
Investment in the travel and tourism industry was SLL39.1bn in 2011, constituting 6.0% of total investment. This was expected to rise by 11.0% in 2012, and then continue to rise by 6.4% pa over the following ten years, reaching SLL80.3bn by 2022.