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The Director of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone, Cecil Williams has appealed to the Minister of Energy and Water Resources to provide more energy and water to the fast growing tourism industry in Sierra Leone in order for the nation to achieve its economic and financial benefits from these industries.
Sierra Leone’s economy is currently benefiting below 15% GDP from the tourist sector, said the NTB director. He made this appeal on Monday September 10th during an interview with this press.
According to Cecil Williams the regular provision of State run electricity supply and pure drinking water to hotels, guest houses, and restaurants, will bring an increase in the profits of such establishments in Sierra Leone.
He maintained that it will further encourage the proliferation of other hotel investments in the country. The Director continued to say that most business people in the hotel and tourism industry are not making huge profits due to the high operational cost of providing regular and private electricity plus pure water for daily operations for guests.
Cecil Williams disclosed that the National Tourist Board is actively engaging stakeholders to ensure that other means of electricity supply like solar energy, bio fuel, and several other methodologies are introduced to the industry.
Williams also said that more tourists boycott the beauty of Sierra Leone to other nations because of high hotel fees which are incurred by hotel owners because of the high daily running cost of hotel operations.
Last year (2011), over 54,000 tourists visited Sierra Leone. Current records of the NTB show that last year’s figure faces an increase in 2012.
The nation can boast of over 120 hotels and guest houses with the construction of more hotels in the pipeline, two of which are graded as 5 star hotels.
Proprietor of Village Beach Bar and Restaurant situated at Beach Road, Lumley beach, Suliaman Conteh, states that the daily running cost on private electricity and water summed up to 30% which is very high compared to other African nations who can boast of between 5%-10%. Nations like South Africa that are considered one of the highest have 15%. He called on MEWR to get private energy firms who can provide electricity for only hotels within the tourist beach area at Lumley.
Mr. Conteh urged the tourism sector and the Association of Hotel Owners in Sierra Leone to conduct sensitization meetings and workshops for the hotel industry players on how to save electricity and water at the building for guests and join forces with other regional players.
Sierra Leone currently produces below 60 megawatts electricity nationwide and has less than 70% with access to safe and pure drinking water.
NEWR is currently undertaking several projects to close the electricity and water divide, including the completion of Bumbuna phase II, water projects nationwide, and several others.
NTB newly appointed executives board has promised to engage the key stakeholders in the tourism sector to make the nation’s immense natural potential more attractive to tourists worldwide.
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