Minister of Tourism, Honourable Hamat Bah, has announced a booming rebound of
the tourist season this year, with the sector working on the establishment of
ten 5-star hotels in the country in the next 18 months.
“The processes are advanced and they are awaiting our administrative (cabinet) approval which will be done in time. So in the next three months, we will be seeing series of hotels springing up and creating thousands of jobs for Gambians,” Minister Hamat Bah said.
According to him, the construction of these new hotels is expected to create further 10, 000 jobs for Gambians and create decent wages for workers.
Hamat made this disclosure at a time when the country received its first tourism flight yesterday, and stakeholders converged in a meeting to frankly discuss about the operations of the Banjul International Airport, which they consider as crucial to the entire sector’s growth.
“For 52 years, we have been talking tourism, yet our arrivals staggering at 150,000. Then something is fundamentally wrong. It is the objective of this administration to register 500,000 tourist arrivals as soon as possible,” he said, citing countries like Mauritius, or closer neighbours, like Ghana or Sierra Leone which began tourism recently, registeringhigher tourism arrivals than The Gambia.
“The focus of the Ministry of Tourism and Gambia Tourism Board is to position tourism to generatehigher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings. Our goal is to create economic opportunities for tourism and investment and transform into a year-round destination,” Permanent Secretary, Cordu Jabang Senghore said.
She said the target, among other things, is to secure 1million visitors by 2022, over $100million in tourism earnings;and increase total direct jobs to 125,000. “They also want to make available 5,000 new bed capacity in the Gambian market.”