Young surfers from Robertsport boldly venture into surf tourism
Young Liberian surfers hit the beaches and Uptown Robertsport on the first Saturday in July, voluntarily clearing and cutting brushy areas, demonstrating their commitment to playing a leading role in Robertsport’s development into a serious tourist destination.
“We think about sanitation from the end of the beach,” says Phillip Banini, avid surfer and entrepreneur. Surfers aged eleven and up volunteered, as Elia Browne, 21, a surfer, fisherman and jeweler, said, “No one has to pay us to clean up Robertsport, it’s our responsibility.”
This mindset led to a fully loaded and engaging three-day Surf Tourism Marketing Workshop in Robertsport at the end of June, hosted by the International Trade Center.
Robertsport’s reputation for ‘perfect’ waves in recent years has ranked it among the best in the world in international media and among surfing enthusiasts. The Tourism Development Project, implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has makes the development of surf tourism in Liberia a top priority.
“Grand Cape Mount County is one of three county destinations chosen from our research as a low hanging fruit, and it has also been repeatedly advertised in international news,” says Juanita Yiah, Director tourism and MICAT focal person on the project. Surf Club Association management says this kind of support is exactly what they were hoping for. “We were sitting and waiting and figuring out who would come with us, and ITC and MICAT did that,” said President Varney Kiazolu, President of the Grand Cape Mount County Surf Club Association and owner of Vartilda Guest House. at Robertsport. .
“Tourism is marketing,” says Hesta Baker, facilitator of the workshop in which more than 40 surfers, executives from the surf club association, the Robertsport Mayor’s office and other parties stakeholders participated in the development of rates, destination packages and event plans, marketing training and content. creation.
Baker, the International Trade Centre’s national branding and marketing consultant, said, “We are thrilled to be working with such a dynamic group of young people who really understand. They are essential to the success of Robertsport as a destination and are ready to work to make it happen. She added that the packages and events developed at the workshop are in development with MICAT, ITC and the Surf Club Association and advertising and marketing campaigns are expected to begin this quarter.
Kiazolu, who is calling on the people of Cape Mount to join in, said: “Cape Towners need to be careful and encourage us to keep doing what the surf club is doing now. We took on the challenge of keeping our environment very decent starting from the workshop.
Banini, owner of Phillips Guest House and board member of the Surf Club Association, added: “This is not about an individual, but about a way everyone around Cape Mount and Robertsport would benefit from that.”
Tourism development project
The Liberia Tourism Development Project emanates from the National Tourism Export Strategy 2016-2020 and responds to the implementation of the strategy. It aims to develop tourism sector offerings by a) improving the policy environment and institutional capacity; b) develop new tourist destinations around surfing and other historical and natural attractions; and (c) undertake targeted promotional and advocacy campaigns to promote tourism in international, regional and national markets.
Specifically, the project aims to a) establish a tourist information kiosk at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, b) develop tourist reception facilities on the Robertsport waterfront, on the island of Providence and on Marshall Island; and c) develop a tourism marketing strategy and tourism brand identity for Liberia, focusing on Robertsport as a surf tourism destination.
The project is implemented by the International Trade Center in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism; and the United Nations World Tourism Organization. It is funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework Program.