President George Manneh Weah says unpatriotic comments and unfavorable narratives about Liberia are undermining factors for the country's promising tourism potential.
Acknowledging that Liberia harbors a vast potential for tourism and its prospects for employment and development, Mr. Weah notes that persistent threats to peace and harmony deliberately framed and propagated by some citizens discourage investors and visitors interested in coming to the country.
He made the comments Saturday, 26 September at programs marking the observance of World Tourism Day on the historic Providence Island.
According to President Weah, there are countless natural and historical sites in Liberia that could be compared to other wonders of the world and which could serve as melting pot of the country's tourism sector.
"Tourism is good for business and for development, particularly in addressing the employment need of a country," he stresses. "Everywhere and every region in this country has an exhibition of tourist sites that could add to the development drive of Liberia," he adds.
According to Mr. Weah, God has blessed Liberia with vast potential for tourism from which this country could attract many investors and visitors, but naysayers and their anti-peace comments are doing more harm to the country.
He calls on Liberians to stop portraying their own country negatively to the outside world, and also encourages the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism to, along with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, explore and effectuate programs and actions germane to revitalizing the country's tourism sector. He particularly calls for the complete resuscitation of the Providence Island in order to reflect its true historical relevance.
"The Providence Island should be a hotspot for tourists in Liberia because the history of Liberia's founding evolves around it," President Weah says, adding: "We have everything here that we need to utilize and rekindle our tourism sector."
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He recalls those days as an adolescent when he used to visit the Island from his nearby Gibraltar Community to learn the arts of dance and watching the exhibition of cultural skills by young people.
He also reminds every Liberian that the responsibility of keeping and maintaining the country's rich heritage rests on each citizen.
Apart from the Providence Island, President Weah recalls that there are other historical sites across the country, including the Kpatawee Water Fall in Bong County, Wonderful Rock in Sasstown, Grand Kru County, and many other areas that do not only represent the heritage of the nation but also as stimulants for a prosperous tourism business in the country. He however warns that the country cannot realize its tourism potentials when Liberians don't make peace a reality.
He urges Liberians to always speak well about their country and engage themselves into practices that attract tourists, as "no one wants to go to a county where they see and hear war drums, animosity, protests."
He also encourages writers and educators to produce books and accounts that portray Liberia's rich heritage, something he promises his government would invest in.
President Weah also thanks the head of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief ZanzarKarwar, who served as guest speaker during this year's program, for delivering what he calls an "insightful speech that highlighted the country's heritage"