Liberia becomes an active member of the UN World Tourism Organization
Liberia recently took a huge step towards placing itself on the international travel and tourism map as a popular tourist destination. Following years of civil unrest, the country is on the verge of commercialising its travel and tourism industry after it was finally granted full membership status by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in late 2011. As the international tourism body’s 155th member, Liberia will receive international assistance in the development of its travel and tourism industry through policy drafting processes, marketing, as well as creating a branding image for sustainable travel and tourism growth in the country.
Embarking on vigorous marketing campaigns to boost arrival numbers
Travel and tourism in Liberia has seen major improvements in recent years thanks to efforts by the government to develop the industry. The country’s inbound tourism is steadily recovering and saw positive growth over the last few years on the back of vigorous marketing campaigns by the Liberian government in traditional and potential source markets. Apart from that, the government has also initiated several measures to help stabilise the country after the civil conflict through its commitment to reconciliation, peace and security. All these have helped to attract more tourists to Liberia as well as boost growth of the national economy.
High passenger demand sees an increase in international flights to Liberia
Liberia’s two main gateways are the Roberts International Airport and the Spriggs Payne Airport. The former is the primary aviation facility for the nation and has recently seen an increase in international flights due to high demand for air transport to the country. Delta Airlines and Air France are some of the new entrants in the market for air transport services in Liberia. Delta Airlines launched schedule flights to the country in late-2010 and is also the first American carrier to fly to Liberia in twenty years. In early-2011, Air France also expanded its offer of services in West Africa by introducing two weekly flights to the capital city of Monrovia. The arrival of new air carriers has helped to open the sky over the country for business as well as for travel and tourism activities.
Oil exploitation prospects to boost long-term economic growth
Liberia’s economy recorded impressive growth in 2011 and is set to expand even further on the back of the recent discovery of oil resources in the country. The government is eager to develop its mining industry and with this discovery can now see bright prospects of its national economy. It has initiated talks with various private and international firms with the aim of creating more investment opportunities in the country. Although it will take time to fully assess the new oil discovery and start drilling, it still means a lot to Liberia’s economy as this will lead to significant job creation and new revenue generation in the future. With the country expected to join the elite club of oil exporters, this has also triggered fear of corruption and instability as is the case with many oil-dependent countries such as Nigeria.
Travel and tourism has huge potential but still full of challenges
Liberia is a nation gifted with enormous, yet untapped opportunities for travel and tourism development. However, its travel and tourism market is expected to see modest growth over the forecast period, given that although peace and calm now reign, the country is still struggling to rid itself of its reputation as a war-torn nation. Despite being a long way from becoming a mass-tourism destination, travel and tourism in Liberia can still develop into one of the largest contributors to revitalise the national economy, if properly managed. There is also hope that the industry will recover in the long-term as a result of government efforts to boost its development. In addition, continuous support from the international community will further help to strengthen growth during the forecast period.
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