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First batch of tourists from Poland arrives

Oct 24, 2011, 2:02 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

The first batch of tourists from Poland numbering10 have arrived in the country for the 2011-2012 winter tourist season.

Officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and tour operators on Friday gathered at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul to welcome them.

According to the officials, the arrival of the tourists from Poland is a significant and important opportunity for the tourism sector, especially as The Gambia seeks to diversity its source market for tourists.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture during the welcoming ceremony, Fatou Biyaye, acting director of Tourism, thanked the first batch of tourists from Poland for choosing to visit the country, adding that they are highly welcomed in this country.

She said the Gambia is the Smiling Coast of Africa, because it is one of the most peaceful countries in the world.

“We are happy to have you in our country; we invite you to enjoy the sun, the nice beaches, as well as the atmosphere in the country,” she said.

The tourism director further stated that her department is making all efforts to create new products, just to make tourists enjoy their stay in this country.

Ms Biyaye added that the Ministry of Tourism is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Interior to make sure that there is peace and security within the Tourism Development Area at all times.

She noted that the way the tourist season has started this year means there is a lot of hope.

 According to her, the tourism security unit is working 24 hours to make sure that tourists coming to The Gambia are safe, as well as the Gambians working within the tourism area.

She announced that tourism is contributing 12 percent to the GDP, adding that the industry is the leading foreign exchange earner for the country.

Ms Biyaye also stated that in the 2008 budget, investment in tourism was D1.2 billion, and is on the increase, and this is different from the foreign exchange earned.

Lt Bubacarr Bah, commanding officer of the tourism security unit, thanked this first batch of tourists from Poland for choosing The Gambia as a destination, and assured them of full-time security while in the country.

Andrzej Uznanski, head of the team, thanked the Ministry of Tourism, as well as the Alkamba Travel and Tours for the warm welcome accorded them.

He said that now people from Poland are looking for new markets, and they are happy to visit The Gambia to enjoy the sun and the sandy beaches.

He appealed for there to be a Gambian ambassador resident in Poland.

“We hope to come back in the Gambia many times,” he said.

Other speakers during the ceremony included Saikouba Sisay, president and CEO of Alkamba Travel and Tours.