The New Director General of the Gambia Tourism Authority GTA, Ms. Binta Jobe has announced that Senegambia Beach Hotel have now become the Gambia Tourism Industry's champion of Hotel Fire Safety.
Ms. Jobe said this on Tuesday, on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Nancy Njie at Senegambia Beach Hotel during the graduation of the hotel's annual fire safety training programme. She noted that over the years, Senegambia Beach Hotel has continued to play a pivotal role in raising fire safety consciousness among the staff and guests of the hotel.
GTA boss said safety is the biggest concern for the private sector, as according to her, safety is the most significant reason for visitors making a decision to travel. She added that when it comes to safety within the tourism industry regulations have been placed by foreign tour operators to ensure that suppliers provide quality and standard services. She revealed that Federation of Tour Operators FTO had produced a benchmark handbook that offers guidance on standards relating to issues of fire safety, food hygiene, pool safety, among others.
According to Ms. Jobe, public awareness on fire safety has increased, adding that fire would not only disrupt the lives of those directly affected but affects their neighbours and even their love ones. She said fire disaster in hotels causes hotel guests not to return to their rooms for many hours. She noted that sometimes their personal belongings may be destroyed, including money and human life.
Ms. Jobe challenged both the GTA and hoteliers to work together to promote fire safety environment, recommending that management prepares a fire safety policy.
"Put the best use of your knowledge gained at this training and practise it for the benefit of your hotel guests, general public and yourselves and exhibit the highest levels of discipline at all times, both when off and on duty," she advised.
For his part, Juergen Odenwald, the General Manager of Senegambia Beach Hotel said the graduation was the second of its kind on fire safety. Mr. Odenwald expressed his gratitude at the programme, and urged the trainees to respond to any form of fire outbreak, be it in the hotel or elsewhere.
The Fire and Safety Officer at Senegambia Beach Hotel, Fernando Mendy said their staff were trained in four main areas, namely risk management, risk assessment, fire protection and evacuation procedures.
Mr. Fernando Mendy, Safety Officer who was also the trainer said the evacuation protection is practised three times in a year with the participation of the emergency response team.
Noting that he is proud of the GM Odenwald for his efforts in lifting the standards of safety at Senegambia Beach Hotel, he said the training is in line with tour operators' demands on safety.
Other speakers included Marion Nyan, a representative from the Gambia Hotel Association, Amat Janha, who represented the Chief Fire Officer and Sambou Danpha, a trainee who delivered the vote of thanks.