Feb 13, 2015, 10:22 AM
The International Tourism Investment Forum which brought together local and international stakeholders in the country’s tourism industry opened yesterday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The aim of the forum is to showcase investment opportunities in the tourism sector of The Gambia, and it would run from 16 to 18 October 2014.
The three-day forum was organised by the Gambia Tourism Board, GT Board, in collaboration with the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion, GIEPA.
In his opening statement, Benjamin Roberts, Minister of Tourism and Culture, said the forum coincided with the end of a two-day International Tourism Stakeholders Forum to which they invited six of their public relations and marketing firms representing them in key European and West African markets where they aggressively market Destination Gambia.
The forum also witnessed the participation of some of their international tour operators, the in-country ground tour operators, tourism associations, hoteliers and general managers of hotels, among others.
The forum was designed to bring under one roof all the key stakeholders in Destination Gambia, with the objective of conceptualizing a unified strategy to achieve two objectives.
That is, to increase our tourism arrival numbers to 500,000 from the current 170,000 mark; increase the contribution of Tourism to Gross Domestic GDP from the current 16 percent level to 25 percent by the year 2020.
The Tourism and Culture Minister further said it was no coincidence, therefore, that immediately after the end of the two-day international stakeholders’ forum, they are holding yet another maiden international tourism forum, but this time with exclusively focus on investment in tourism.
“This is a clear testimony that we as a tourism destination, recognize the need to enhance our product suite in an effort to give tourists the ultimate holiday experience - be it nature, culture, culinary, gastronomy, leisure, or expedition,” Tourism Minister Roberts added.
According to Minister Roberts, over the years, significant achievements have been registered in the tourism industry.
Notwithstanding, they are very much aware of the need to further enhance and introduce new tourism products, and this investment forum seeks to help them achieve those aspirations.
Abdou Jobe, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, said significant achievements have been registered in tourism in The Gambia in the recent past, and notable among them is the sprout of hotels and tourist resorts with the global aim of creating value for money.
The Ministry of Trade shall continue to pursue strong partnerships with other ministries and agencies to advance the development of the tourism value chain at all levels, Jobe declared.
“As we seek to deepen and widen our collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency and the Gambia Tourism Board, we will continue to work together in identifying and globally marketing investment opportunities in the Gambia tourism industry in the pursuit of our national priorities,” Trade Minister Jobe continued.
As the country marches ahead with the transformation of the tourism industry, in general, and, in particular, the tourism product, the Trade ministry would continue to focus on existing efforts and strategies that could expedite the realization of national ideals in the tourism industry, he said.