The project is out to enhance the capacities and craft sectors in OIC member countries.
The official launching of the training programme was attended by senior government officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, officials of The Gambia Tourism Board and COMCEC members.
Delivering his launching statement on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Modou Joof, said the programme was designed to improve the capacity and know-how of the target beneficiaries especially in the handicraft sector.
It is expected that this intervention would develop their entrepreneurial, operational and professional skills to be able to become innovative and enhance the quality of their products, he said.
PS Joof added that
The rolling out of this project by the GTBoard is a giant step in the right direction, PS Joof said, adding that at the end of the training programme, the target beneficiaries would be equipped with the requisite skills and techniques to be able to become more innovative in their various enterprises and vocations.
Mr Joof said the key to successful management of tourism service providers would lay in the capacity of their businesses to continuously and systematically adapt to the constant changes affecting the sector.
“In such an environment, the competitive advantage of enterprises would depend on their capacity for innovation and creation of added value in their products and services,” he said.
He also thanked Ms Fatim Badjie for her efforts at making sure that the project is realised.
“In this connection, therefore, this capacity building programme is reflective of my Ministry’s desire to improve the product suits of Destination Gambia and at the same time improve the overall productivity and skills of the small entrepreneur in the tourism industry,” he said.
“It is therefore my fervent hope that similar interventions will be rolled out for other operators in the industry so as to improve their productivity and overall performance within the tourism industry.
“To this effect women and youth should be accorded utmost priority in view of the fact that a good number of these operators are youth.”
Mr Joof said he was optimistic that through product development and effective quality control, ”we can improve our services and products and be able to effectively meet the needs of our various clientele, who are increasingly becoming discerning and yearning for quality and differentiated products”.
Abdoulie Hydara, director general of the Gambia Tourism Board, in his remarks on the occasion, welcomed the participants especially those from the sister Republics of Senegal and Mali.
“At the same time I took due cognizance of the presence in our midst of four esteemed master Trainers from Ghana and one from The Gambia,” he noted.
As an institution, he added, the Gambia Tourism Board is mandated to primarily promote The Gambia as an interesting and exciting tourism destination. However, in support of this primary mandate, the GTBoard is also mandated to develop the tourism product portfolio as well as the product suits to be able to meet the expectations of the diverse and varied customer base.
Mr Hydara noted that GTBoard recognised the importance of developing the human resource base of the tourism industry.
This is critical, given that the various service providers at various levels of the industry interact.[endif]