Sierra Leone is hoping to launch an electronic visa system and a visa on arrival program to increase the number of foreign visitors that travel to the country. The country hopes to ramp up tourism, promote the country as a sustainable destination and make it easier for tourists to visit Sierra Leone.
Jane Goodall, famous conservationists, visited the country. During her stay, a State Dinner was held in her honor. During the dinner, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, vice president of Sierra Leone, revealed the plan for expanding tourism, "We are working towards putting infrastructure in place to declare Sierra Leone a visa-free country, which means so many people around the world can just jump on a plane and come to Sierra Leone and get a visa on arrival.”
"This country does not have a lot of foreign Missions across the world so the best way you can encourage tourists, business people, and investors to come in is to make things easy for them. We are also looking at instituting an e-Visa system which means you could sit down in your home and apply for your visa electronically to come to Sierra Leone. We are investing in infrastructure,” added Jalloh.
Many countries across the globe have implemented successful electronic visa systems to attract tourism and improve immigration processes. In several cases, an electronic visa system allows a country to cross-check data and verify the status of each traveler.
Sierra Leone to focus on sustainable tourism
Recently, there has been an increased interest in Sierra Leone as a tourism destination. The country has been making strides to lead the way in conservation. The country is reemerging as a wildlife and sustainable tourism hub. “[Tourism] means a lot for the future of Sierra Leone. We see it as an entry point for rebranding Sierra Leone. We want to send a strong signal to the world that Sierra Leone is open for business and also for tourism. We see the tourism sector as one of the vehicles to drive diversification of the economy. We see that it is able to stimulate growth and also build an economic base that offers jobs for boys and girls across the country,” said Jalloh.
During Goodall's visit, Sierra Leone presented her with the highest and most prestigious decoration, the Order of the Rokel. She was recognized for the tremendous contributions and work she has done with the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the conservation of biodiversity in the country. When receiving the honor, Goodall said, "What an honor, I am truly, truly humbled. I don’t really feel I deserve this, but I want to assure you that I will do my level best to do everything I can do help conservation in Sierra Leone.”
Goodall remains committed to helping the country to the best of her ability, in her speech she said, "I am committed to doing what I can in Sierra Leone.” She added, “you have wonderful forests that people from around the world would be excited to visit. I thank you for this. It is very special to me. It’s very moving. Thank you.”
During Goodall's visit, Sierra Leone announced that the chimpanzee will serve as the country's national animal. It is expected that all of these recent actions will contribute to Sierra Leone's sustainable tourism efforts.
Additional details about when the e-Visa system will be launched have yet to be confirmed.