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Fort Bullen site attendant blames tour operators

Mar 13, 2020, 12:20 PM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

(Thursday 12th March 2020 Issue)

The site attendant at Fort Bullen has told the National Assembly‘s Select Committee on Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports that Gambia tour operators are not bringing tourists to Fort Bullen for historical visits during their stay in the country.

Mr. Mballow made this disclosure to the committee during their visit to the institutions to get first hand information.

He added that The Gambia tour operators are now taking tourists to Kunta Kinteh Island at Juffureh, saying that alone is not helping the staff  who are working at Fort Bullen.

He argued that one would clearly understand the history of Kunta Kinteh Island if she/he does not visit Fort Bullen. According to him, Fort Bullen and Kunta Kinteh Island are interconnected and they all serve the same purpose in the country as far as history and tourism are concerned.

He narrated that Fort Bullen was built to stop slavery on West coast of Africa and all the captured slaves were transported to the River Gambia because the river was very close to the Western countries and it was good for navigation.

Mr. Mballow further told lawmakers that Fort Bullen was used by soldiers for military purposes during Yahya Jammeh’s regime, making the Fort lose its original structure as a result. “The soldiers plastered the building and because of that the site lost its market value.”

The Forth Bullen site attendant also cited water, electricity supply and toilet facilities as their major challenges; so he urged the government of The Gambia to provide those facilities so that the place can be visited by tourists.

Mr. Mballow called on The Gambia tour operators to bring tourists to Fort Bullen, arguing tour operations are in a position sell the Fort to the world.

“They are the ones who should market the site for the benefit of the country and to reduce the youth unemployment rate in The Gambia. But without doing so, it will be difficult for the tourists to know the original history of Fort Bullen.