Stakeholders discuss Tourism Value Chain, exploiting potential

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Stakeholders in the tourism sector are undergoing a two-day national seminar discussing ‘The Gambia’s tourism sector: measuring its value chain and exploiting its potential.’

The national seminar fully funded by the United Nations is currently underway at the Coco Ocean, Bijilo.

The seminar among others, seeks to sensitize key national stakeholders about the importance, tools and their roles in measuring the tourism value chain, and how this supports The Gambia’s capacity to design policies that promote a higher degree of integration into regional value chains.

During the two-day seminar, participants will deliberate among other things the importance of the sector for The Gambia’s economy, importance of value chains for international trade and better regional and global integration, challenges, measuring value chain conditions for success for enterprise, measuring linkages between tourism and creative industries, estimating the contributions - of tourism to GDP in The Gambia.

Addressing the forum, Hamat N.K. Bah, Minister of Tourism and Culture affirmed that the seminar is part of the project on Services Trade in Africa, which he said, was secured in September 2018 and is funded by UNCTAD in collaboration with UNECA.

The project, he went on, is aimed at building the capacities for evidence- based services trade policy.

Minister Bah indicated that the seminar also seeks to explore the value added by domestic and foreign firms in the tourism value chain.

He added that the project focuses on The Gambia’s experience with tourism services and supports the design of services policies, which allow higher integration into Regional Value Chains and Global Value Chains.

Minister Bah outlined some of the contributions, linkages and importance of tourism if fully exploited especially in terms of diversification.

He however disclosed that low-income countries do not always enjoy the full benefits of tourism for the rest of the economy as tourism in Low Countries is characterised by lower indirect effects and higher levels of leakage.

Tourism in The Gambia, he declared, is a key economic sector for The Gambian economy, accounting for more than 20% of GDP and almost 18% of employment.

 “And to increase the benefits of tourism for the local economy, serious efforts are undertaken to strengthen linkages between the hotels and the local economy, and thereby reducing leakages in the industry.”

United Nations Development Programme - Resident Representative- Aissata De, commended the government and Ministry of Tourism and Culture in particular for the strong commitment to the development of the sector and for organizing the seminar in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

She stated that regional integration is a top priority for Africa and “services play important role in the process.”

African leaders, she continued, had shown their great commitment to regional integration by signing the African continent free trade area.

She said among the main stumbling blocks that hinder the implementation of trade services related policies in many countries is limited qualification for services trade and more generally in appreciation of significant role services play in regional and global value chain.

Ms De maintained that the fragmentation of products across countries required the provision of effective services such as ICT, financial and logistic services.

This, she added, is key as international trade is predominantly organized through global and regional value chains.    

Author: Yunus S Saliu