On the 26th of March 2024, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board issued a press release regarding the ongoing demolition of beach bars and other facilities along the Lumley Beachfront. The release aimed to inform the public about the series of sensitization activities undertaken as part of the restructuring process.

According to the press release, extensive efforts were made to engage the public and stakeholders in the process. These efforts included:

Eighteen appearances on both radio and TV to raise awareness.
Public announcements within the Lumley/Aberdeen community from September 2023 to the present.
Direct engagement with beach bar operators on multiple occasions.
Press releases in print media for three weeks in December 2023.
Notification letters sent to affected beach bars, restaurants, and similar facilities on various dates.

Furthermore, the Ministry and the Tourist Board held eight meetings between August and September 2023 with the Lumley Beach Bar Association and the Land Developers Association to discuss the restructuring plans and the necessity to demolish non-compliant structures.

The Lumley Beach Bar Association and the Land Developers Association endorsed the proposal and categorized structures based on guidelines, including those blocking beachfront views, lacking access to the sandy beach, makeshift or substandard structures, and others not tourism-centric.

The demolition exercise is being carried out in three phases:

Community Phase: Targeting substandard and shanty structures.
Beach Bars Phase: Focusing on substandard and illegal beach bars.
Concrete/Storey/Dwelling-like Structures Phase: Involving structures requiring substantial restructuring.

Phase 3, which involves 39 structures with concrete, storey, or dwelling-like designs, has been given a one-month period to comply with the Beachfront Guidelines. Failure to do so will result in the demolition of these structures.

As of now, sixty-six out of the 130 beach bars and restaurants have been demolished during the first and second phases of the exercise.

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board assured the public that the demolition exercise would be conducted fairly and justly to promote sustainable tourism development in the country.

This press release serves as a reminder of the government’s commitment to enhancing the tourism sector while ensuring compliance with regulations and guidelines for the betterment of Sierra Leone’s coastal areas.