Tourism in Sierra Leone is an important growing national service industry. Beaches and other natural habitats are the biggest parts of the nation’s tourism industry.
Rich in history, natural wonders, and picturesque landscapes, Sierra Leone remains an unappreciated destination largely thanks to the impact the civil war of the 1990s had on the country’s international reputation. The coastal areas offer easy access to fine sand beaches and offshore islands, little explored by foreign visitors and therefore unspoiled by commercial tourism. The capital, established by freed slaves from the Caribbean, represents a popular starting point for trips to Sierra Leone, with a colorful look to it, a lively atmosphere, and good onward connections to the mountains of the north and mangrove swamps and rainforest to the east.
According to the International Labour Organisation, approximately 8,000 Sierra Leoneans are employed in the tourism industry, with a growing number of jobs expected to be created in the future. The main entrance point is Freetown International Airport, where transport to and from has been problematic.
The government’s ministry, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, is headed by Memunatu B. Pratt.
The main attractions for tourist in Sierra Leone are the beaches, nature reserves, mountains and the islands (Banana Island and Turtle Islands).