Tag: liberia

We humans have always had a special relationship with wildlife. Just as we’ve relied on nature for shelter, protection, and comfort in all parts of the world, these delicate ecosystems rely on us to help support and maintain them. Today, global concern for the degradation of forest ecosystems is at an all-time high, along with a growing public interest in nature and natural landscapes. The best opportunity to address both concerns is to invest in sustainable management for natural parks with especially vulnerable ecosystems.

According to the World Commission on Protected Areas, the management of protected areas is central to legal, political, institutional, and practical conservation efforts worldwide. As such, maintaining these protected areas for future generations should be our top priority by ensuring they are managed with sustainability in mind. This is especially important for natural parks, which are prized ecological hotspots and some of the world’s most valuable tourism destinations.

What is Sustainable Destination Management?

Sustainable destination management is the planning, coordinating, and implementing tourism solution strategies to ensure long-term destination sustainability. These strategies help travelers and locals get the most out of a destination while minimizing damage to its natural resources.

The tourism sector has grown significantly over the past 50 years, with international arrivals increasing from 200 million to nearly 1.6 billion. With this growth comes many economic and societal benefits; however, protecting destinations and their resources from depletion makes it all the more important. To do this, strategic planning solutions must be developed for travel destinations at risk of ecological depletion. When implemented successfully, these plans can help the tourism industry flourish while benefiting local communities and protecting natural resources.

At Solimar, we develop tourism master plans that identify destinations’ assets, opportunities, and challenges. Our strategies are coordinated by in-depth research and engagement with local communities. This helps to ensure that locals and tourists get the most out of what a destination offers. Solimar’s most recent efforts involve applying these tourism master plans to national parks. These attractions have an inherent connection to nature that defines its value and greatest vulnerabilities, hence the importance of sustainable management for national parks.

Key Elements Of Sustainable Tourism and Management

When it comes to national parks, sustainable management plans should strike a balance between conservation and public access while addressing the needs of local communities. To practice sustainable management in national parks, conservation efforts have many moving parts that help consider all of these needs.

1. Visitor Management 

National parks attract a significant number of visitors every day. The constant foot traffic and the threat of human interference put them at an especially high risk of ecological degradation. Sustainable management plans for national parks address this problem by managing the impacts of tourism on the environment. These efforts are highly visitor-centric, including implementing measures such as visitor education programs, infrastructure in environmentally sensitive locations, and technology for managing the number of visitors entering the park daily.

Another way visitor management can enhance the traveler’s experience is by providing information through visitor centers. Solimar has developed several visitor centers in destinations around the world. These visitor centers provide travel and accommodation information while supporting local businesses and communities.

2. Collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Indigenous peoples and local communities play a unique role in the sustainable management of national parks. Their deep understanding of the local ecosystems, wildlife, and natural heritage, as they have inhabited these lands for generations, is fundamental for understanding and managing biodiversity and developing relevant conservation strategies. Their traditional sustainable knowledge, love, and respect for their lands make them invaluable partners in the sustainable management of national parks.

Approximately 476 million indigenous peoples live across 90 countries around the planet. According to the United Nations, indigenous people are ‘inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment.’ Indeed, nowadays, these communities manage 17% of forest carbon around the world, significantly contributing to climate change mitigation.

Hence, involving these communities in the planning and decision-making process is vital for building trust, inclusion, and meaningful conservation efforts.  The Conservation Wor Activity is an example of an inclusive and multi-sectoral project that highlights the importance of engaging local communities in the management and preservation of protected areas and enhancing their economic growth in the long term.

3. Conservation Of Biodiversity in Protected Areas

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash 

Despite international efforts, biodiversity across the globe continues to decline. The Living Planet Report 2022 reported a 69% average loss in mammal, bird, reptile, fish, and amphibian species since 1970. The designation of national parks as protected areas can help mitigate the loss of local plant and animal species, especially those that are endangered or on the brink of extinction.

Currently, Solimar is collaborating with USAID Conservation Works Activities (CWA). This project, centered in Liberia, is about developing a sustainable management plan that engages communities in conserving protected areas. Liberia, home to the Upper Guinean Forest and a renowned biodiversity hotspot continues to face threats such as deforestation and habitat destruction. It is essential to involve local communities in creating innovative protected areas through sustainable tourism management.

4. Resource Management

Resource management is key to sustainable tourism for natural parks. A thriving yet unregulated tourism industry creates a large demand for resources such as water and wood. Consequently, destinations that face this demand may find themselves especially vulnerable to ecological depletion. This threat can be mitigated by sustainable tourism infrastructure that consumes minimal resources while contributing to the visitor experience.

Solimar is proud to provide its own example of sustainable tourism infrastructure with the Sapo Eco-Lodge in Sapo National Park, Liberia. The entire complex, complete with solar-powered energy, is built with sustainability in mind. It showcases Liberian natural heritage while providing visitors with accommodations in the heart of Sapo Natural Park, creating an unforgettable visitor experience. 

Sapo Eco-Lodge, Liberia

5. Destination Management Organizations

Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) are groups that play a large role in sustainable management. UNWTO defines a DMO as “the leading organizational entity which may encompass the various authorities, stakeholders, and professionals and facilitates partnerships towards a collective destination vision.” Solimar often works with DMOs to coordinate essential destination tourism management elements, including marketing, amenities, and public access to attractions. Most importantly, DMOs are often key players in implementing sustainable management strategies.

6. Measuring Impact for Sustainable Tourism

Measuring the impact of tourism in national parks is crucial for protecting its natural resources. Solimar proposes three main reasons behind its importance for sustainable tourism:

    1. Conservation: Assessing the ecological footprint of the local tourism industry allows for developing strategies that minimize habitat degradation, pollution, and disturbance to wildlife.
    2. Investment: Knowing the impact of tourism can provide important information on a destination’s overall economic value. If presented effectively, this information can attract potential investors and contribute to the destination’s socioeconomic well-being.
    3. Education: Understanding how visitors behave and impact a destination can foster educational initiatives to raise awareness about environmental issues, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable tourism practices.

How Can I Make a Difference?

Travelers are the heart of a tourism destination. The choices we make as travelers are crucial for preserving and protecting natural resources around the world. These are just some of the many ways travelers can support sustainable tourism in national parks:

    1. Educate Yourself: Before visiting national parks or other natural tourist attractions, research the unique ecology and the wildlife that calls it home. Knowledge of the local environment can only enhance your experience as a traveler, giving you insight into and appreciation of your destination.
    2. Leave No Trace: Practice the “Leave No Trace” principles to minimize the environmental impact of your visit. Remember to properly dispose of your trash, including food waste and other biodegradable items. Respect wildlife by observing from a distance, avoid damaging plants or natural formations, and minimize the usage of campfires.
    3. Choose Sustainable Transportation: Consider using eco-friendly transportation to reach your destination: for instance, public transit, carpooling, or cycling. If you’re driving, opt for fuel-efficient vehicles to decrease your carbon footprint.
    4. Support Local Communities: Opt for local, eco-friendly accommodations. Buy traditional gifts from local artisans around national parks. Not only will you contribute to the local economy, but you will also have a unique opportunity to engage with local culture and traditions.
    5. Volunteer and Support Conservation Efforts: Many national parks have volunteer programs and organized conservation projects. Consider participating in these initiatives, such as trail maintenance, habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, and educational programs. You can also donate to park foundations and organizations that preserve and protect national parks.

Visit our website to learn more about sustainable destination management and what you can do for national parks.

Photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash 

Blog by: Kristina Algas and Marika Matarazzo

Sunset in Liberia

Liberia is a country that suffered from political turmoil between 1989 and 2003. Tragically, this political turmoil also destroyed Liberia’s tourism sector. While this is the case, the country of Liberia is beautiful and has much to offer to tourists from all around the globe. In the last two decades since the war, the Liberian state has stabilized, and the country has dedicated itself to rebuilding the sector. The government also aims to do this through digital marketing and sustainable development of their tourism sector. 

Liberia is home to over 140 species of mammals, 600 species of birds, and 75 different amphibian and reptile species. The country also boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth and has roughly 4.2 million hectares of forested land: 43.4% of the total land area. This presents an immense opportunity for tourism development and conservation efforts to ensure that these species and ecosystems are properly protected.    

Sunset in Liberia

One example of these conservation efforts includes the USAID Conservation Works Activity (CWA), which engages communities in management of protected areas, and gives them a stake in long-term protection of these areas. Another objective of the project is to develop sustainable tourism infrastructure and capacity. This is an important part of the Destination Management Plan, as Liberia has stunning destinations already open for guests and simply need more promotion. 

With more tourists, the Liberian tourism sector will be able to develop further. Additionally, it is important to involve local communities when nurturing sustainable development. the CWA project believes that this is crucial to developing Liberia’s tourism sector. By 2025, Liberia wants to be an up-and-coming destination that is increasingly sought out by tourists. Currently, one of the best places to get information online about visiting Liberia is on Solimar’s Enjoy Liberia website

Promoting Sustainable Development in Liberia via Digital Marketing

One important aspect of marketing is understanding what type of tourists will be attracted to a destination. The marketing strategy for the CWA aims to attract tourists who are nature and adventure enthusiasts, both locally and internationally. Liberia touts numerous attractions for tourists of this demographic. Exploring the history and immersing yourself in the culture of Monrovia, surfing on the beaches of Robertsport, and exploring the forests of East Nimba Nature Reserve and Sapo National Park. These are but a few of the opportunities for sustainable tourism development and are important destinations in the CWA digital marketing strategy. 

Due to the rapid development of certain tourist sites in Liberia, it is crucial for marketing campaigns to be aware of the changes coming to these sites. These exciting changes not only intrigue tourists, but they also have the ability to showcase how the Liberian government, specifically the Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism (MICAT), is developing the industry sustainably. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, as sustainable development brings social approval and further attention to these destinations. This also enforces the belief that sustainable development is crucial to the tourism sector. 

One example of this is the Sapo Eco-Lodge, located in Sapo National Park. This lodge was built by the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and the Forestry Development Authority and has been built in the buffer zone of the park. The eco-lodge involves local communities and allows tourists to appreciate nature and encourage conservation by showcasing existing conservation efforts. The eco-lodge has power and also generates some of its electricity from solar panels. 

Solar panels for sustainable development at the Sapo Eco-Lodge
Solar panels at the Sapo Eco-Lodge

There are many exciting things happening in the tourism sector of Liberia, and the eco-lodge in Sapo National Park is a great example. While this is a rapidly developing sector, it is still difficult for companies based abroad to receive all the relevant information needed to advertise these changes. Specifically, digital marketing requires numerous pictures and  descriptive language, as well as details of the changes being brought to various destinations in Liberia. The information network, especially because of the limited internet presence in developing countries, is weak. Due to this, many destinations do not have a strong digital presence. 

Expanding Information Networks & Engaging the Private-Sector 

While the government provides updates based upon government projects, it is still crucial to engage with the private sector to understand the current destination landscape. We have to understand how best to promote these new or upgraded destinations and work with their owners. To do this, Solimar engages with locals that live in Liberia, as well as establishing relationships with various private-sector actors who are focused on providing attractions that promote sustainable development and conservation.

Solimar relies on its on-the ground employees who are locals of Liberia. These locals provide unique insight on local news and information on destinations, attractions, and events not featured online. They also provide critical cultural insight. Additionally, working directly with local citizens builds an information network that can lead to increased collaboration with the private sector. It is crucial to work with the local community and community actors to ensure that they receive benefits from the sustainable tourism industry. 

With more information and enthusiastic businesses that want to get involved in the tourism industry, it is significantly easier to utilize digital marketing to encourage tourists to visit Liberia. One example of these enthusiastic businesses is Philip’s Guesthouse, owned by Philip Banini. Banini’s guesthouse is a perfect opportunity for tourists to experience the passionate and growing surfing community of Robertsport on the coast of Liberia. 

Philip's Guesthouse in Robertsports
Philip’s Guesthouse in Robertsports

Because of the relationship that Solimar has developed with Banini’s Guesthouse, it has been easy to get information about the guesthouse and promote it on various websites, as well as Solimar’s own. Due to this relationship we had the opportunity to interview Philip about his guesthouse, as well as about his life journey that brought him to open it. Building relationships and having the opportunity to interview business owners makes it easier to gain information and market destinations or amenities. It also allows the Destination Management Organization (DMO) to understand the local communities they are working with, as well as their goals and beliefs. These interviews allow for digital marketing to be more personable, as they convey the real stories and emotions behind the people who want to engage in sustainable tourism development in Liberia. 

Encourage Entrepreneurship and Engagement in the Tourism Industry via Digital Marketing

As the Liberian tourism sector continues to develop and grow, it will become evident that there is success in following a Destination Development Plan and operating with sustainable business practices. As the tourism sector grows, business networks will also grow as the DMO aims to create a unified and coordinated experience amongst the tourism industry. This allows Solimar to encourage entrepreneurship and involvement in the tourism industry by demonstrating the successful businesses that are benefitting from the industry.

Libassa Ecolodge, a family-owned business, is a great example of a successful business that has benefited from the tourism industry. The eco-lodge appeals to any mood when traveling. It can act as a resort, offering a pool and beach as well as a lazy river, while also having a restaurant that serves great local cuisine. The eco-lodge also offers adventure, as it is on the Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to animals such as elephants, chimpanzees, and deer. 

Chimpanzee at the Limbassa Wildlife Sanctuary

Not only is Libassa Ecolodge a perfect example of a private sector business that has been incredibly successful, but it is one that embodies the spirit of sustainable tourism. The eco-lodge encourages tourists to visit the Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, and this provides significant benefit to the non-profit conservation organization.

Even further, increasing awareness of this business not only encourages tourists to visit and increase attention to these conservation efforts, but it also underscores the relationship that can exist between private businesses and NGOs that benefits everyone involved. The wildlife sanctuary also aims to educate. Its mission statement  includes the importance of educating both the local community and tourists about the importance of conservation. 

Utilizing digital marketing to promote these attractions not only benefits conservation efforts, but it encourages participation in the local economy. It is clear that digital marketing plays a crucial role in promoting sustainable tourism. Even further, it directly provides a boost to the sector by increasing the attention the destination receives. Digital marketing not only encourages people to get involved in the sector, but it can also be used as a tool to teach people about sustainable development. A great example of this is the Solimar Institute for Sustainable Destination, which offers courses to show people how to operate businesses that adhere to conservation and sustainability requirements. 

Solimar’s institute focuses on four key pillars of education, which include learning, engaging, actioning and developing. The learning pillar is key, as it educates on the best practices on how to sustainably develop a destination, directly from industry experts. Even further, Solimar offers the service of consulting directly with these businesses to help them grow and expand. By encouraging sustainable development in the tourism industry in Liberia via the digital marketing tools available, Solimar International promotes sustainable conservation efforts and can bring economic benefits to local communities. 

Solimar Institute for Sustainable Destination's plan for Digital Marketing and Sustainable Development
Solimar International’s Plan for Digital Marketing and Sustainable Development

Liberia is an up-and-coming tourist destination that has a lot to offer. For people who wish to relax, they can spend their time on the beaches of Robertsport, at Lake Piso, or at the Libassa Ecolodge. If that doesn’t suit you, you can rest amongst nature in the forests of East Nimba Nature Reserve or Sapo Park. These are also great places for adventure, as there are phenomenal hiking trails throughout these conservation areas. Digital marketing is the perfect tool to encourage people to visit these destinations and teach people about the importance of sustainable tourism while nurturing a mutually beneficial local network of private-sector and government or NGO actors to create a flourishing tourism sector.  

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Liberia is a beautifully unique country with a less than favorable reputation. Researching Liberia leads to some interesting finds. For example, the country’s two civil wars, the Ebola endemic, crime and COVID-19 appear, leading curious travelers to believe Liberia is not a bucket-list tourist destination. The effects on the Liberian economy have been disastrous, leaving communities struggling to rebuild the country to the glory it deserves. Sustainable tourism in Liberia can contribute to regenerating the economy through providing significant benefits to local communities. This piece explains how Liberia can be restored through sustainable tourism. First, the effects of the wars and endemics are explained before diving into the importance of sustainable tourism in Liberia. 

Liberia tourism cultural performance
Sapo Cultural Performance, Solimar International

Civil War and the Ebola Endemic

Throughout the last three decades, Liberia has encountered 14 years of two civil wars (1989-1999 and 1999-2003), which killed approximately 250,000 people and displaced thousands. But how did these wars erupt? During the 1820s, the American Colonization Society in the United States began to send formerly enslaved African Americans back to their initial point of departure, Liberia. Overall, throughout the 1800s, around 16,000 freed formerly enslaved African Americans were sent from the United States to Liberia. Some decades later, the Republic of Liberia was established on the 26th of July, 1847, and the Americo-Liberians took power, often exploiting the natives in a segregated society. Although they were the minority in Liberia, the Americo-Liberians successfully established themselves as an oligarchy, controlling Liberian affluence, politics, and the economy. The exploitation and weaponization of ethnicity against the indigenous majority continued until 1980, when Samuel Doe staged a coup to forcibly seize power. However, Doe was also corrupt and discriminatory against different ethnic groups, exacerbating conflict between tribes. Yet, the moment that ignited the first civil war outbreak was when Americo-Liberian, Charles Taylor, laid a siege on Nimba County. As the conflict escalated, President Doe was captured and murdered in 1990. The second civil war broke out shortly after Charles Taylor was elected president in 1997, leading to clashes across Liberian borders to feed into the country. However, it was not until 2003 when thousands of women staged protests to end the decade of violence. 

Furthermore, in 2014, the Ebola endemic swept through Western Africa, significantly affecting Liberia. Almost 3,000 people died from Ebola in Liberia alone. Due to the great loss of life, people’s movement was restricted, which led to an enormous financial strain on Liberia. Additionally, these catastrophes weakened Liberia’s proficiency in adjusting to the challenges of climate change, including great coastal erosion. From a tourism perspective, the Ebola endemic stopped flights coming into the country. In addition, countries worldwide issued warnings to travelers to prevent people from visiting Liberia. The wars and the endemic led to many travelers ousting the idea of Liberia as a desirable travel destination.

The Importance of Sustainable Tourism in Liberia 

As previously stated, sustainable tourism in Liberia is crucial to regenerate the economy after the disastrous and long-lasting effects of the civil wars and ebola endemic. There are three significant benefits to growing the sustainable tourism industry in Liberia: it can conserve the natural environment, promote the cultural heritage of Liberia, as well as stimulate economic growth. 

sustainable tourism in liberia through beautiful pools and palms
Location: Marshall, Margibi County; Photographer: Rami Ramitto @theramiramitto

Conserving Natural Resources and Wildlife

Liberia has one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa. Home to great apes, pygmy hippopotamus and other majestic forest beings. Furthermore, Liberia hosts unique flowers and butterfly species that attract wildlife enthusiasts and researchers worldwide to witness rare sightings of these creatures. However, many of the rare animals in Liberia are listed as endangered. For that reason, sustainable tourism is vital, as it generates income to ensure the continued protection of all wildlife and natural resources in Liberia. As stated by Matt Humke of Solimar International, people are often at the center of conservation solutions. 

sustainable tourism in liberia preserves these cute endangered pygmy hippos
Endangered Pygmy Hippo; Location: Sapo National Park; Photographer: Solimar International

East Nimba Nature Reserve

Hiking to the peak of this reserve results in a panoramic view of three West African countries. Hiking, however, is just a small token of what tourists may experience in this destination. The wildlife and birdlife in the East Nimba Nature Reserve can be found nowhere else. For example, the largest butterfly in the world, the African Giant Swallowtail (Papilio antimachus Drury), can be found here, alongside 100 different species of orchid. Visiting this nature reserve ensures the continued promotion, protection, conservation, and growth of the unique biodiversity found in Liberia.

Mount Nimba, Liberia: an abandoned mining site and the highest point in West Africa. Hike to the top of the tallest peak in West Africa and the point where three countries converge

Sapo National Park 

Deep into the West African rainforest in swamps and near rivers, rare and beautiful creatures are thought to be endangered due to hunting and accidental pesticide poisoning. Like the other animals unique to Liberia, deforestation is also a considerable threat to species’ survival. Many endangered species exist in Sapo National Park, such as the Liberian Mongoose. Tourists may visit this park during Liberia’s summer months to witness the conservation of the biodiversity in Liberia. 

sign post welcoming visitors to sapo national park, a massive sustainable tourism in liberia

Location: Sapo National Park; Photographer: Solimar International

Kpatawee Falls

Located in the centre of Africa’s oldest republic, Kpatawee is the perfect sustainable tourism destination for a wholesome weekend getaway in West Africa. Only a three-hour drive from Monrovia, Kpatawee is a nature lovers’ paradise. The Kpatawee waterfall is a Ramsar site, meaning that the water is a significant reservoir for the people of Kpatawee. Furthermore, the water is essential for locals as it is used for consumption. Therefore, ecotourism at this waterfall and the Kpatawee Waterfalls Resort is crucial to conserve local’s natural resources. Furthermore, the Kpatawee Falls organization ensures the protection and conservation of the area’s unique biodiversity. For this reason, visitors who infringe on the waterfalls may threaten the conservation efforts made in Kpatawee. 

Location: Kpatawee Waterfall, Gbarnga, Bong County; Photographer: Kunal Chotrani, @1world1vibe

Promoting Liberia’s Cultural Heritage Through Sustainable Tourism

As previously mentioned, Liberia’s reputation has been tarnished by the calamities of wars and endemics. However, Liberia is so much more than its past. For instance, the unique culture and history of the country have attracted people from all over the world, eager to dive into the rich cultural heritage of Liberia. Providence Island is the perfect example of a destination that highlights the strength of this West African country. 

Providence Island

Providence Island was the point of departure and no return for many Africans that were forcibly removed from their homes and sold as enslaved people. According to UNESCO, African chiefs, governors, and family leaders in the community saw a fast way to conjure material necessities by exchanging human cargo. The Africans that were sacrificed and sold as enslaved people and sent to the United States included “less important community members” and people captured during tribal warfare.

As previously mentioned, the formerly enslaved were set free and sent to Liberia throughout the 1820s. Providence Island was the arrival point for the arrival of the formerly enslaved. Due to the history of Providence Island, many Liberians can trace their ancestry back to the United States through the slave trade. These Liberians now honor their ancestors and the pain and hardships they endured by preserving Providence Island in their memories.  

Visitors to Providence Island can spot many historical attributes that represent the island’s deep roots in the United States. For example, one of the oldest cotton trees in the world (250 years old) can be found on Providence Island. Furthermore, other attributes of the island include an ancient water well that is believed to have been used by the formerly enslaved that arrived on the island in the 1820s and an old landing dock that was used when the island was a former trade post. This landing dock is still a platform for incoming canoes and ships to Monrovia. Furthermore, the foundations of original settlements were formally inhabited by the formerly enslaved African Americans. At the same time, newly constructed huts, such as a palaver hut, were built as a replication of the many homes built after the African American settlers arrived. 

Interestingly, a metal tree on the island was created from AK47 machine guns to represent the country’s desperate wish for peace after many brutal years of internal conflict in Liberia. This tree serves as a reminder of these years. Moreover, a cement pillar and concrete flooring can be observed on the island, which is thought to be the very first concrete work in Liberia’s history. 

Location: Providence Island, Monrovia, Liberia; Photographer: Rami Ramitto, @theramiramitto

Location: Providence Island, Monrovia, Liberia; Photographer: Rami Ramitto, @theramiramitto

Traditional Dance 

Tourism to Liberia leads travelers to promote the traditional dances of different tribes. Dancing is a significant part of Liberian culture. People dance for all types of special occasions, such as weddings, burials, holidays, and traditional events. However, dancing is not just reserved for special occasions. People often take to the streets and dance for their own joy or to communicate messages. For example, some performances are spiritual, and they share that the cultural heritage of Liberia must be reserved. 

Furthermore, the traditional dances of Liberia vary from tribe to tribe and in different regions. However, regardless of the traditional dance performed, when Liberians hear the sound of drums (sangba), they frequently drop their work activities to watch the performances on the streets. 

As seen in the photograph, cultural dances are performed wearing traditional Liberian clothing. This young Liberian woman has had her face painted before dancing. This picture was captured by Solimar International in attendance of a Sapo cultural performance. As you can see, cultural dancing brings immense joy to Liberians as they are hugely passionate about this tradition. If you intend to visit Liberia, it is worth your while to appreciate a cultural dance performance as it is an experience unlike any other. 

Stimulates Economic Growth

Many countries worldwide count on tourism to be their key economic driver. Therefore, the economy will be positively impacted if sustainable tourism is established and supported throughout Liberia. Here are a few examples of travel destinations that support sustainable tourism as well as provide careers for Liberians. Suppose more Liberian tourist spots are pinpointed and improved to support sustainability and customer experiences. In that case, the country can eventually develop into a desirable travel destination. 

Libassa Ecolodge 

Libassa Ecolodge is an excellent example of job creation in Liberia. This luxurious ecolodge allows tourists to unwind by the pool or beach after a week of fun-filled activities. Hop into the lazy river, soak up the Liberian heat, and float along the water with your family and friends. Liberians have been hired to maintain the pool, and chefs and servers were employed for the ecolodge’s restaurant. 

Furthermore, Libassa Ecolodge can fill a tourist’s day with enjoyable activities as people were hired to entertain guests throughout the week. For example, the ecolodge provides massages, yoga, gym, sports on the beach, a cultural dance class, scuba diving, sea turtle beach patrol, boat trips to Chimp Island, a wildlife sanctuary, Liberian cooking classes, bonfires, a Liberian dance show, and so much more. Click here to see more activities that Libassa Ecolodge provides. All of these wonderful activities have created the opportunity for Liberians to earn a living. 

Location: Libassa Ecolodge, Margibi County; Photographer: Rami Ramitto, @theramiramitto

Royal Grand Hotel 

Like Libassa Ecolodge, the establishment of the Royal Grand Hotel in Monrovia created hundreds of jobs in the capital of Liberia. Thousands of people pass through Monrovia yearly, staying at places such as the Royal Grand Hotel. Therefore, the demand for a reliable workforce grew. The hotel provides tourists with a gym, a spa, a restaurant and a donut bar. In addition, people were hired to maintain the hotel and clean rooms. Establishing a hotel like this is crucial for rebuilding the economy as travelers leave this destination with positive experiences. Therefore, they are more likely to promote Liberia as a desirable travel spot online or through word-of-mouth to their friends and families at home. 

Kpatawee Falls

In contrast to the Royal Grand Hotel, Kpatawee Falls is a relatively small tourist destination. However, the establishment of the organization has still provided jobs for people in the area. For example, tour guides are hired to take visitors on an exciting tour of Kpatawee falls from one of the local eco guards of the site. The tour guide shows tourists the true hidden beauties that surround Kpatawee waterfalls. You can feel the passion emanating from the guides as they take great pride in the conservation of nature and the protection of the diverse ecosystems that make up the area of Kpatawee. 

Furthermore, during your stay at Kpatawee Waterfalls Resort, you can engage in various uniquely Liberian activities. For example, you can harvest the nutty-flavored vegetable, cassava, from their garden and learn how to cook delicious Liberian dishes. The people hired to give classes and tours also promote Liberia’s cultural heritage by sharing local dishes and highlighting the rare wildlife. 

Location: Kpatawee Waterfalls Resort, Kpatawee, Bong County; Photographer: @kpatawee_waterfalls

Location: Kpatawee Waterfalls Resort, Kpatawee, Bong County; Photographer: @kpatawee_waterfalls

The Future of Liberia is Sustainable Tourism

As shown in this piece, sustainable tourism can have a tremendous positive impact on a country such as Liberia. After years of endless tragedies and strife, the people of Liberia deserve to have their country recognized for its present glory rather than its dark past. The country’s traditional dances, dishes, crafts, surf waves, historical sights, and friendly people can potentially attract travelers worldwide. Unfortunately, the country has a long way to go before the positive economic effects of sustainable tourism can be seen. Still, Liberia is more than worthy of any visitors it currently receives. 

Want to learn more about Liberia?

If you are interested in sustainable tourism and want to learn more about our work in Liberia, check out three of our Liberia-based projects:

USAID Liberia Conservation Works Activity (USAID – CWA) 

Liberia Ecotourism Business Planning on behalf of the Forestry Development Authority

Liberia Ecotourism Study

“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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