The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Hon. Peter Bayuku Konteh has on Thursday 17th July, during the Government weekly press briefing hosted in the Ministry of Information and Communications conference room called on journalists to be responsible and objective in the way they report the EBOLA outbreak, as according to him it is scaring, frightening and sending away tourists. He said, in as much as the EBOLA outbreak is scary and detrimental, media practitioners should know the way they do their reporting so as not to send away tourists, adding that, the outbreak is not in anyway helping the country but militating against the growth and developmental initiatives of the country through the government.
He said the tourism sector is one of the most valuable and sustainable sectors in the country which must be in maintained and protected by all Sierra Leoneans. Hon. Konteh furthered that security, health and sanitation and attraction-entertainment are the watch word his ministry thrives on to get tourists into the country.
“Tourism Sector is the most fragile in governance, so it must be cautiously handled so to enable it actualize its mandate by attracting tourists into the country that will contribute to national development”He informed that, from January to June 2013 there were 41, 820 guests who arrived into the country and a total of Thirty Million, One Hundred and Eighty Two Thousand United States Dollars ($30, 182,000) was generated, whilst from January to June 2014, there were 32, 944 guests who arrived in the country and generated the total sum of Twenty-Three Million, Nine Hundred and Forty-Four Thousand United States Dollars ($23, 944,000), which according to him is appalling and does not tell well for the country as there are variances of 8, 876 guests and a deficit of Six Million, Five Hundred and Seventy Nine United States Dollars ($6,000,579).He then called on all to work in the interest of the country.
Also making a statement, Mr. Tony Shallop of Country Lodge said every week there are cancellation of tourists bookings due to the EBOLA outbreak, which he stated is as a result of the way it is been reported by the media. He said Hotel Industries depend on guests.He then called on journalists to have a better way of reporting EBOLA cases so as not to scare away tourists, as the sector greatly contributes to the country’s coffers.
Also in attendance was the National Telecommunications Communications (NATCOM) Chairman, Dr. Tom Obaleh Kargbo who informed that NATCOM was created by an act of Parliament in 2006 and amended in 2009 with a broad mandates to regulate the telecommunications industry.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.