Oct 31, 2013, 10:51 AM
Tijan Bah, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture,
has said they are moving towards community tourism, through which they would
bring tourists down to the level of the community, especially in the rural
areas, so the natives could benefit more from the industry.
DPS Bah was speaking during a tour of tourism facilities by officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, in collaboration with the Gambia Tourism Board, stakeholders as well as policy-makers, to see all tourism facilities around the country.
DPS Bah added that there used to be this kind of system in the past around the 60s and 70s, and they would work hard to re-introduce it.
“We are piloting in Ndemban where we are introducing tourists to families to be placed with native facilities, to live with them as well as to experience their day-to-day activities.
“I think this would place them in the center of what Gambian life is like, especially in the rural areas, and not to limit them to the TDA [tourism development area] as our lifestyle has shifted.”
Bah said this would add value and enrich the experiences of tourists, because “they are more interested in local life than urban life”.
They would see differences and it might also reflect, in a certain sense, on what obtains in their countries, he said.
They could experience more in terms of bird sighting and in terms of wildlife, because some might not even see a wild boar in their whole life time, and taking them to the community might give them the opportunity to see such things.
DPS Bah commended members of the private sector for complementing the efforts of government, in putting up good facilities that tourists could use when they visit the country.
Notwithstanding, they are still encouraged to do more to raise the country’s beauty and standards to attract more tourists.
He said it was important they maintain standards and see how they could improve them, which is why the ministry together with GTBoard takes the lead to go around every year to see that the standards are maintained and how they could work with them to improve on them.