By: Modou Touray
The Director General of the Gambia Tourism Board, Mr Abubacarr S. Camara, has called on Gambians to always maintain peace and tranquility, emphasizing that frequent demonstrations may endanger the economic prospects of tourism in the country.
Mr Camara was responding to questions from journalists while officially receiving the maiden flight of the 2022/23 tourist season at the Banjul international airport on Friday afternoon. The Gambia Experience’s flight first landed with 164 tourists from the United Kingdom.
“Peaceful demonstrations are normal worldwide but you never know what could happen. People can demonstrate peacefully but other people with ulterior motives may use that as a platform to destroy the peace. This is our fear.
The Gambia has a competitive advantage because we are known as the smiling coast of Africa. There is only one smiling coast in the whole world which is the Gambia. By nature, Gambians are very peaceful,” he explained.
He further pointed out that tourism is the second highest contributing industry to the country’s economy after groundnut.
Mr Camara assured the safety and wellbeing of tourists while calling on hoteliers and other service providers in the hospitality industry to improve their services.
“When we went with the Minister to UK, many tourists wanted to come to the Gambia, but they wanted to be sure that they have high quality beds. We made this known to them and our inspectors are going round to inspect facilities of service providers.”
The Gambia Tourism Board Director General also spoke on the issue of “bumsters” who disturb or harass tourist, declaring zero tolerance to bumsters and all other undesirable people.
Mr Camara also predicted the success of this season, saying that more flights and tourists are expected this year.
Mr Camara is optimistic that with the number of flights expected and the positive correspondences he had received, the fruit of their labour has materialized.
The Gambia Tourism Authority was established by an Act of the National Assembly in July 2001 to promote, develop, regulate and oversee the tourism sector in the Gambia. This comprises hoteliers, travelers, businesses and entertainment.
The Gambia is one of West Africa’s smallest countries but without a doubt one of the most attractive destinations in the region. With the beginning of tourists’ season, authorities are on high alert to ensure that the country remains peaceful and stable.
The best time to visit The Gambia is between November and May, during the country’s long dry season. It’s the ideal time to travel if you’re keen to make the most of the country’s famous beaches and other attractions.