Oct 21, 2009, 7:49 AM
Gambia Experience Friday resumed flights to the country, after the political
impasse that gripped the nation ended peacefully.
It would be recalled that during the political logjam and threat of military confrontation and war in the country, all tourist flights to the country ceased, which left hotels empty.
The re-launching of the flights was witnessed by officials of The Gambia Tourism Board, tour operators, as well as journalists reporting on tourism.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the landing of the aircraft at Banjul International Airport, Abdoulie Hydara, director-general of GTBoard, said they were happy to receive the first flight of Gambia Experience back to the country.
“We need the government and the private sector to come on board and do something about this, because tourism plays a very important role in our economy,” he added.
Hydara said to see the resumption of flights back to the country is a promising development, and that all this had happened thanks to the tour operators.
“We are so much grateful to Allah, for what has happened in the country is a testimony,” he said. “We are very happy to witness the resumption of The Gambia Experience flights back into the country.”
Director-general Hydara further said they welcome the development, and thanked all those who have contributed to it, especially the UK ambassador.
Bakary Jammeh, GTBoard chairman, said they are happy the ban has been lifted and flights are resuming operations in the country.
When the state of emergency was declared, all the guests left and all flights operation stopped, he added.
“Now we have The Gambia Experience bringing tourists back,” he said, adding that as officials of The Gambia Tourism Board they will earnestly work on a significant recovery of the country’s economy.
Chairman Jammeh commended Senegal, ECOWAS and the UN for their support during the political crisis in the country.
Adama Njie, director of Marketing at GTBoard, said during the political crisis all the fights had to suspend operations, but thanked God that the ban had been lifted and flights have started coming into the country again.
He said The Gambia Experience would maintain their flights into The Gambia destination.
All the flights that were coming to The Gambia before the political crisis have resumed operations into the country, he announced, adding that they are going to intensify marketing The Gambia destination, to get more tourists visit the country and let the economy boom again.
Tourists would continue to come to the country, because “they like the country, as whenever you talk about Africa, The Gambia is second to none in terms of peace,” Njie said.