the review period of 2018, the tourism and culture sector registered remarkable
inroads in its quest to enhance the sector’s contributions to economic growth
and the creation of employment opportunities, according to the draft annual
progress report which was recently validated by stakeholders at the Senegambia
Notable achievements include tourism arrivals in 2018 surpassed the annual growth target of 21.3% as envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP), reaching 350, 000 tourists by the year 2021(only arrival by air). While international tourist arrivals grew 6% world-wide in 2018 - Africa recorded a growth of 7%, and Sub- Saharan Africa 6%.
The report indicated that with a growth of 29%, The Gambia has surpassed the international, regional, and sub-regional averages, tourism value added as a proportion of GDP was approximately 21%, up from 16% in 2017 and direct employment for Gambians was 41,800 from 35,000 in 2017.
“Foreign exchange earnings from tourism were approximately $128million from $104million in 2017 – an increase of 23%,” the report points out.
“The sector has increased the number of tourist flights to destination Gambia from 50 to 57 flights – an increase that surpassed by 8%, the 21% increase in arrivals; a result that was the target for 2018.”
Specifically the report states that Thomas Cook Holland for the first time flew twice a week to The Gambia as a direct chartered flight with 180 seats to Banjul and also jetted in tourists during the summer.
“Destination Gambia registered the first Direct flight (3 times a month with 350 tourists) from Russia to Banjul; while TUI Poland started its all year-round operation during the summer. TUI Belgium charter flight started flying to The Gambia after being away for more than 16 years. From the UK market came 12 flights a week (Thomas Cook 9, Gambia Experience 3) while Thomas Cook Scandinavia increased its flight capacity from a load factor of 9,000 to a load factor of 17,000 for 2018/2019 tourism season. The Dutch Market also operated 11 flights per week.”
“FTI Touristik also resumed its operations to the Gambia after being away for more than 20 years and it has plans to fly year - round beginning April 2019 (the much awaited summer months) from 4 major cities in Germany (Munich, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Dusseldorf).”
To increase the ease of access to The Gambia using the non-chartered flight mode, Turkish Airlines started flying twice from Istanbul to Banjul, a daily flight to Nigeria and Ghana was established with ASKY while Air Peace flew 4 times a week to destinations within the sub region.