Nabeela Tunis: The Minister championing Sierra Leone’s Tourism Renaissance


Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Nabeela Farida Tunis, spearheaded a delegation of dynamic tourism stakeholders to FITUR 2024 in Madrid, Spain. This significant event served as a platform for Minister Tunis to engage with international counterparts and the global tourism trade in hopes of attracting visitors and tourists to her country.

A key engagement was with the UN Tourism Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili, on an array of pivotal issues shaping the future of Sierra Leone’s tourism sector.

In an exclusive interview with VoyagesAfriq, Minister Tunis shared her positive impressions of Sierra Leone’s participation at FITUR 2024. “We are here as policy leads, and it’s been a very active and engaging five days. I am highly impressed with the visitors to the stand and the potential exhibited in terms of partnerships and visitations. FITUR has been a great opportunity for us to partner in a way that complements each other’s efforts,” she remarked.

The Minister shed light on the prevalent perception of Sierra Leone as a tourist destination, emphasizing the country’s raw, unpolluted natural beauty. “People just speak about the beauty of Sierra Leone. That’s what struck me because you are talking about raw unpolluted natural beauty,” Minister Tunis stated, underscoring the need to promote this unique aspect.

Following her meeting with UN Tourism Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili, Tunis outlined the key takeaways, including a commitment to fostering partnerships and addressing crucial areas like tourism and peace, promoting women in tourism, and encouraging creativity and innovation within the sector.

The Minister who was appointed to lead the sector last August has already hit the ground running with the introduction of the “Tourism for All” initiative which aimed at driving Sierra Leone’s domestic tourism. Discussing Sierra Leone’s ambitious campaign, the Minister explained its multifaceted approach. “The end game is basically to share knowledge about tourism in Sierra Leone, encourage movement within and outside of Sierra Leone, and foster partnerships. The campaign seeks to bring as many people onboard in Sierra Leone for them to understand what tourism is and its value to individuals, communities, and the government.”

Minister Nabeela Tunis with the Secretary General of UN Tourism after a meeting at the HQ

On the crucial matter of increasing air access to Sierra Leone, the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister shared the government’s dedicated efforts. “Tourism has been a priority for this government since 2018, and all efforts are geared towards making it as viable as possible. The Ministry of Transport and Aviation has been working hard to attract new airlines into Sierra Leone, and we anticipate the entry of new airlines and chartered flights in the coming months.”

Closing the interview, Minister Tunis passionately invited global travellers to choose Sierra Leone as their destination, emphasizing the country’s minimal air pollution, low carbon footprint, and the unique atmosphere that embraces visitors. “People need to visit Sierra Leone to experience it because you can’t experience it from outside; you have to actually be there,” she urged.

About Minister Nabeela Farida Tunis
Nabeela Farida Tunis who was appointed Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs by President Julius Maada Bio in August 2023, is a distinguished leader with expertise in Development Management, International Relations, and Governance. Formerly the Regional Minister of the Western Region, she implemented transformative community development initiatives, showcasing the impact of people-centric governance.

As the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tunis played a pivotal role in rebranding Sierra Leone internationally, earning the country respect and recognition. Her proficiency in policymaking and strategic leadership was evident during her tenure as Minister of Planning and Economic Development, where she crafted crucial national development plans.

Now at the helm of Sierra Leone’s tourism sector, Minister Tunis brings her exceptional track record to the forefront. Having already launched the “Tourism for All” domestic campaign, she aims to leverage her experience to transform the tourism landscape. With a commitment to inclusive growth, Tunis envisions a tourism sector that benefits all segments of society. Her strategic vision, honed through various ministerial roles, is expected to elevate Sierra Leone as a prominent tourist destination.

Beyond politics, Minister Tunis is actively engaged in philanthropy and mentoring initiatives, reflecting her passion for development and humanity. Married with three children, Tunis’s unwavering love for nature and her innate talent for building are set to contribute to the rejuvenation and prosperity of Sierra Leone’s tourism industry.

This Article was published in the March 2024 edition of VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine


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