The excitement that followed the visit of the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Sidie Yahya Tunis at the Limkokwing University in Sierra Leone was phenomenal. From the administration to the students everyone appreciated the visit by the team from the tourism and cultural division of government. The visit which took place on Tuesday 23rd August, 2016 at their Hill Station campus was the first of its kind since the establishment of Limkokwing in the country.
Facilitated by the National Tourist Board, the session rejuvenated the hope of students offering tourism studies whilst simultaneously bringing the students closer to the world of work.
In an open show of devotion to duty, Minister Tunis renewed his commitment to rebrand Sierra Leone through the tourism industry. The students listened patiently but anxiously as the Minister expounded on the countless benefits that are associated with the development of tourism and culture in Sierra Leone. The students could not conceal their admiration for the Minister as evident in their unending applause following his speech to them.
Rebranding Sierra Leone through tourism is a project that the students have embarked upon with direct supervision of lecturers. The Minister, Sidie Yahya Tunis encouraged students of Limkokwing University to concentrate on their studies since employers are looking forward to employing professionals.
The General Manager, National Tourist Board, Yassin Kargbo challenged the students to do more not least because they were fortunate to attend a university that focuses on industrial approach to education. With his ‘young professionals’ slogan, he ignited a feeling of excitement in the students, an excitement to learn and be the change that they want in society. He concluded that the National Tourist Board was prepared to partner with Limkokwing for the future development of tourism education in the country.
Chairperson of the Monuments and Relics Commission, Isatu Smith stated that the doors of the Commission and the museums are open to students for research purposes. The remarks by the Chairperson were directly proportional to the assertion by the Tourism Minister “that most tourists do not come to Sierra Leone to sleep in 5 star hotels but to learn and enjoy our rich cultural heritage.”
Director of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mohamed Jalloh underscored the fact that over the years, there was an acute lack of thinking on the part of students noting that students were not thinking ‘out of the box.’ He lamented that the industry lacks the pre-requisite capacity to forge ahead hence the need for creative thinking in rebranding the country.
The University authorities were delighted to host the tourism professionals in their campus and used the opportunity to thank them for the visit.
Limkokwing University of Creative Technology is a private international university with a presence across Africa, Europe and Asia. With its main campus in Malaysia, the university has over 30,000 students from more than 150 countries, studying in its 12 other campuses in Botswana, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and the United Kingdom.
Mohamed Faray Kargbo