On responsible tourism

Friday, October 05, 2018

Tourism plays an important component of The Gambian economy, as it is the leading foreign exchange earner. Apart from agriculture, the sector has been regarded as the second foreign exchange earner, thus providing employment for many, including a good number of youths in the country.

 As we ushered in 2018/19 season with the arrival of maiden flight from Russia, hopes are high that the country will this year witness a considerable surge in tourists’ arrivals. In the recent past, the Ministry and GTBoard have embarked on aggressive campaign in a bid to promote The Gambia as a preferred destination.

Again, the country in recent past has seen tremendous development in the country’s tourism industry in their bid to be at par with not only our sub-regional competitors, but even European and Caribbean markets.

Perhaps one of the areas that people tend to overlook is the number of young people who got employed at the industry or travel to Europe through assistance from European friends. Many of those youths are today contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of the country through remittances sent to their families back home.

The support especially through remittances they are helping Gambians families and communities undoubtedly goes a long way towards improving the living standards of many Gambians, who otherwise would have found it extremely difficult to escape from poverty.

Though, the tourism sector, like other areas, does have its own bottlenecks, thus the need to put all hands on deck to address the problems.

The issues include child sex tourism, and the bumbster menace which, among others, must be tackled head on.

The Gambia is a country of decent people, whose hospitality must not be taken for granted. Gambians are known for their generosity and open nature in welcoming visitors to their homes.

Despite the economic benefits associated with tourism, we must be careful not to expose our children to avoidable risks, or to endanger respect for our traditional norms and values etc.

Indecent behaviours in our streets, our homes and even in our beaches should not be condoned, no matter what.

“Tourism provides employment to the poorest of the poor. Gram seller earns something, auto-rickshaw driver earns something, pakoda seller earns something, and tea seller also earns something.”

Narendra Modi