Oct 9, 2008, 4:48 AM
Child Protection Alliance (CPA), in partnership with The Gambia Tourism Authority (GTA), Thursday held a day’s training on Child Sex Tourism at the Baobab Hotel in Kololi.
The programme, supported by UNICEF and ECPAT Netherlands, brought together stakeholders in the tourism sector and other related areas.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Njundu Drammeh, National Coordinator of CPA, said children are very important and tourism, which is also one of the biggest foreign exchange earners in The Gambia, is very important.
He said it is about how all of them could ensure they are able to make their tourism better, as well as protect children from abuse and exploitation.
Rupert James Leighton, deputy UNICEF Representative, said this was an opportunity to mark The Gambia a Child Sex Tourism-free nation.
He said that in difficult times they have to look at their priorities and should not be confused over issues, since the fact that making noise about child sex tourism and identifying problems would not be good for business.
He urged them to be champions of child rights, saying child sex tourism involves everyone using the beaches and the Kombo area.
Benjamin Roberts, GTBoard chairman, said Destination Gambia has tasked themselves to promote responsible tourism, adding that practising responsible tourism is quite a challenge but has to be implemented.
He said The Gambia has given relevance to tourism, which was why they could not help but practise responsible tourism.
The objective of the forum was quite apt because it was on the reactivation of a taskforce committee on child protection and he want to indulge the group for them to pay particular attention through the taskforce of a task committee.
Marc Van Maldegem, chairman of Gambia Hotel Association, said it was important they work together to fight child offences, adding that child protection is team work.
He said Destination Gambia needs to have a clean name when it comes to child protection and it is the responsibility of everyone to protect the child.
He said they have trained their members to abide by CPA code of conduct and to ensure that no child enters the hotels without being accompanied by an adult.