Feb 3, 2017, 11:15 AM
flight, which stopped coming to the country for the past sixteen years, has
resumed its flights to The Gambia.
Jetair, a Belgian flight, Friday landed at Banjul International Airport with a number of tourists onboard and was received by officials of the Gambia Tourism Board, as well as tour operators.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the landing of the aircraft, Abdoulie Hydara, director-general of GTBoard, said he was “very excited” and that it all started earlier this year when the Minister of Tourism and Culture together with officials of GTBoard and stakeholders visited the International Trade Fair in Berlin.
The Minister of Tourism started discussion with the Tui top officials on the possibility of putting up chartered flights from Belgium, and this was followed by the visit of top and senior officials of Tui to destination Gambia.
Director Hydara said during their visit to The Gambia, they had a press conference and they promised that, come this season, they would put up two direct flights from Belgium to The Gambia.
“This is now happening, and today the first flight from Belgium landed in destination Gambia, and we are also expecting more flights from Belgium directly to The Gambia.
“I always say this is unprecedented in the history of tourism development in the country. We have been working with the Minister of Tourism to bring a lot of new things in the tourism industry. This flight took sixteen years off from flying to destination Gambia. In 2016, they started flying again,” he added.
Adama Njie, director of Marketing at GTBoard, said it happened because of the meetings and joint marketing with Belgium headed by the Minister of Tourism and Culture.
GTBoard marketing director also told journalists that last year they were at ITM, and met with some decision-makers from Belgium who said they would now look at The Gambia.
“I think it is important for them to venture into the destination; so that is the reason why we have got this flight after sixteen years of absence from The Gambia.”
As a destination, he added, it is good for The Gambia, and they are doing some joint marketing with them and are going to continue with that.
Charbel Hobeika, managing director of Gambia Tours, said this was the first flight from Belgium, and they would be flying twice a week, every Friday and Monday, and this will be ongoing until April.
“This was the first chartered flight from Brussels, and it had been many years that we did not have this flight in The Gambia; now it is happening,” he said.
Luc A. Verscheiden, Consultant Tourism and Hospitality Pride in Achievement, said this was a good move, and flights would continue to land in destination Gambia.