Liberia has been named as a top tourist destination by travel company “Lonely Planet due to the country’s idyllic beaches washed by some of West Africa’s best surfs. These features are, however, left at the discretion of neglect by bureaucrats.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in its 2019 report indicates that tourism grows faster than merchandise trade and only next in line to fuel and chemicals. In 2018, the report says 121 billion was generated globally from tourism.
Notwithstanding the enormity of tourism importance to export diversification for emerging economies like Liberia’s with the capacity reduce trade deficit and compensate for weaker export revenues, the sector forms a small part of the country’s economy.
The West African nation is endowed with luxuriant rainforest, sandy golden beaches along its coasts and imparts irresistible scenery for tourists
The Government of Liberia comprehends that tourism betokens a vital spillover effect, spurring growth in closely related sectors and sub-sectors such as agriculture, furniture manufacturing, foods and beverages and infrastructure development.
At a time like this when the oldest African nation’s economy is tethering on the edge of collapse, millions are a washed across Liberia in pristine beaches, beautiful surfing spot, bird watching, dolphin watching, forest that hosts rare species in the face of growing demand for adventure tourism, eco-tourism, the country’s unique linkages with US market, intra-regional tourism and the increasing number of international visitors from emerging economies.
It is palpable that tourism is a bastion for many developing countries across Africa and it is creating thousands of jobs for young people. But Africa’s oldest republic is treating the industry with disdain. This, however, does not take away the prospect of a private sector driven effort to get the tourism industry living up to its usefulness.
However, there are key stumbling blocks that must be removed in order for the sector to thrive: transportation, fix the capacity deficits in the service sector and ensure that key cross-cutting enablers from other sectors are aligned and harmonized with the country’s overall national tourism strategy.
With more travelers looking for eco tourist destinations, Liberia’s unspoiled virgin rainforests -the last of its kind in West Africa, wetlands, lakes, hills, mountains, waterfalls, lagoons and deltas, that set Liberia apart, will leave nature lovers marveling. And we too can make millions from these natural assets and lift ourselves out of the curse of poverty and economic backwardness.
There are a number of mechanisms to account for tourism’s positive contribution to the economy. For one thing, tourism provides much-needed diversification of countries’ export earnings away from a dependence on agricultural and primary commodities, thereby contributing to broader patterns of economic modernization. Meanwhile, in comparison to other economic sectors, such as manufacturing, the tourism industry requires relatively low levels of inputs of capital and expertise—resources that tend to be scarce in developing economies—thereby creating an abundance of space for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to thrive.
AGI opined in its 2018 report that there are also substantial benefits from tourism that accrue at the local level, including improvements in income distribution, regional development, and employment opportunities for remote and low-skilled workers, which both directly and indirectly impacting poverty levels.22 Compared to other sectors, tourism also provides a disproportionately high number of jobs for women, who are often difficult to integrate into the formal economy in developing countries. Corroboratively, a recent study by the U.N. World Tourism Organization concluded that, in the global hotel and restaurant industry, women often outnumber men and receive equal pay.