The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs under the Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) has held the Covid-19 hygiene protocol training and launched the handbook for employees within the tourism sector. The training was held at the Family Kingdom.

The Covid-19 Tourism Operational Handbook for Sierra Leone is a comprehensive guideline document for the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sector to safely and responsibly operate during and after the covid-19 pandemic. The objective is to communicate to employees in the hospitality sector the new routine for the standards and processes essential to run tourism operations considering that the Covid-19 threat will not vanish within the foreseeable future.

Opening the session, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Edward Kwame Yankson noted that the training of hospitality employees resonates with the government’s Medium Term National Development Plan 2019-2023 sub-cluster 2.3 which calls for improving the capacity of sector workers as a means of alleviating poverty. He said the submission of a proposal to the COMCEC coordination office in October 2021 to train 200 workers on covid-19 hygiene protocol was well thought out. He called on beneficiaries to take the training seriously and practice the knowledge acquired.

The Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh said they needed to train and consider a bit more attractive packages for employees in the sector to enhance job satisfaction. He stressed that employees are very important and can help to increase turnovers. He said the reason they were holding the training now that Covid has subsided was that they put in an application for funding when Covid was ravaging many economies and it took long for the approval to come in. He told participants that the skills learned will help them for any eventual crisis, saying that the hygiene aspect will be of great use.

Launching the Covid-19 protocol hygiene handbook and training capacity for tourism employees, The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt maintained that the event was a manifestation of the post-Covid-19 development trajectory outlined by President Bio to transform the tourism sector through capacity-building for citizens that will empower them for available job opportunities and increase revenue generation.

“Sierra Leone is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states that constitute COMCEC and have benefitted significantly from training opportunities and bilateral meetings that strengthen the diplomatic and cultural ties with member states”, she said.

She added that the handbook will address standard operational procedures for carrying out and offering touristic services, standards and protocols for occupational safety and health of tourism employees, and standard operating procedures applicable for all tourism, leisure, and hospitality businesses and providers in a specific sector of Sierra Leone’s tourism.

Statements were made by the President Hotel and Tourism Association, Dean of Tourism Milton Margai Technical University, and Communication Lead Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Training of participants on Covid-19 hygiene protocol by Bisolu Betts and interactive presentations by participants climaxed the occasion.