One of the main attractions of Liberia is its coastal tourism product. In recent years, several initiatives have been undertaken to develop and diversify Liberia’s tourism product, based on the country’s natural and cultural heritage. In particular, surf tourism has been identified as a niche market that has a high growth potential in the country, with the destination of Robertsport as a site with excellent geographical features for surf tourism development in West Africa.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) and UNWTO are collaborating in a project on developing the tourism sector in Liberia with a focus on surf tourism in the Robertsport destination. The project is funded with a contribution from the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), and implemented by ITC as lead agency and UNWTO as associate partner, providing technical assistance for the project components on sustainable tourism governance and marketing and promotion.
One of the project components focuses on the marketing and promotion of surf and coastal tourism, including the development of a promotional video, a website, Facebook page, and other (e-)marketing activities. In October 2020, the project will undertake a rapid assessment of the constraints and opportunities to market tourism in Liberia with a view to providing guidance on the planning and development of promotional activities for tourism in Liberia.
Project stakeholders understand that the development and promotion of tourism in Liberia can only be successfully achieved if there are proper governance and management mechanisms in place for the sustainable development of tourism in coastal areas of Liberia. UNWTO has developed a methodology to assess the level of sustainable tourism governance and management in coastal destinations and to make recommendations on how to strengthen governance and management mechanisms. Based on this methodology, in the past years UNWTO fielded advisory and capacity building missions to nine coastal destinations in Africa, and published a report, titled “Sustainable Tourism Governance and Management in Coastal Areas of Africa”, documenting the main findings and recommendations from the field missions. The methodology developed and the lessons learned from the missions will be used to help evaluate and direct sustainable tourism development in Liberia. The report will also include advice to tourism stakeholders to strengthen governance and management mechanisms for a sustainable development of tourism in the Robertsport destination.
Preparations for the project in Liberia started before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the global tourism sector. To take into account the recent developments, the project activities will also provide guidance to tourism stakeholders in Liberia on mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector and accelerating tourism recovery.