Sep 1, 2008, 9:04 AM
The Ministry of Tourismand Culture in collaboration with The Gambia Tourism Board on Monday organized a one day consultative forum to discuss the way forward for the 2013 tourist season.
The forum, which was held at the Paradise Suite Hotel, was attended by senior government officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture as well as security personnel.
Speaking at the opening of the forum, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, Minister of Tourism and Culture said as a government, they are trying to amend the Tourism Act before next year.
According to her, tourism is the responsibility of everybody as it contributes to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The Gambia, she added, is a very peaceful destination and everyone should work to maintain that.
Minister Jobe-Njie emphasized on the issue of child sexual abuse, which she said, government will not compromise with.
“We don’t need tourists who come to the country for child sexual abuse but we want tourists who will contribute to the GDP so that we can create more employment,” she stated.
Benjamin Roberts, Director General of The Gambia Tourism Board said the major challenge in the country is the issue of responsibility, noting that most people don’t want to take responsibility.
“We have so many associations in this country which are making money and they don’t want to invest in the industry,” he said.
He called on all the stakeholders to work as a team to make the 2013 tourist season the best.
Roberts also called on the security personnel, beach bars, tourist taxi drivers and all those who are working within the tourism development area to know their responsibilities and play their role.
“In tourism, it is all about service delivery,” he stated.
Ebrima T Jaiteh, Secretary General of the Tourist Taxi Drivers Association who also spoke at the forum said even though their association has been registered with the GTB and they have been paying their license, they are benefitting less.
Tourists, he said, were informed at the airport that green taxi’s are very expensive and are not reliable.
“I think the GTB should look into this issue properly,” he concluded.