Sep 12, 2008, 7:17 AM
The 182 British tourists who landed on Gambian soil have paved the way for others to jet down the country in succession for this season.
Tourism is an important sector of the Gambian economy as it is the second largest foreign exchange earner. It also creates jobs for thousands of Gambians and indirectly provides livelihood for tens of thousands of our people in this country.
So seeing tourists trooping to our country at this point in time sends signals that there is more for us as a nation in tourism this year, despite the unfortunate incident of Ebola in some other parts of the continent.
We know that The Gambia is an Ebola-free country and it is hospitable to visitors, especially tourists.
The Gambia is also one of the most stable countries in Africa with beautiful beaches, climate and sunshine, which are very essential to attracting tourists.
The country is also blessed with healthy and delicious dishes, as well as with friendly people who are always full of smiles.
There are also attractive culture and traditions of value in the country such as music, dance, dress and other values.
We would also like to advise our people, especially the youngsters and bumsters, to maintain good relations with tourists who visit our country and let them be hassle-free.
The Minister of Tourism and his staff, as well as the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard), should continue the good work of promoting Gambian tourism around the world.
We should not relent in promoting The Gambia as a safe destination and must always try to upgrade the level of our hotels and their facilities since there is serious competition for tourists on the continent, especially from countries like Kenya, Morocco and Senegal.
Incentives should also be accorded hotel owners and airlines to keep the industry alive and booming.
In this respect, we would like the ministry to note that electricity and water bills of hotels are seriously affecting hotel owners, hence they should find a way of minimizing the cost of these bills.
It is also advisable for the Ministry and GTBoard to develop Gambia tourism into an all-year round affair; this could also be augmented by improving electricity and road networks in the country. Presently, the tourism season runs from October to end of May, which could be improved upon.
According to official tourism sources, 200,000 tourists from the UK, Scandinavia, Spain, Holland and Eastern Europe are expected.
Tourists are therefore welcome to The Gambia and we wish them a happy and enjoyable stay in the Smiling Coast of Africa.
“The country is blessed with healthy anddelicious dishes, as well as withfriendly people who are always full of smiles”