Let’s diversify our tourism products!

Jun 5, 2020, 10:45 AM

The coronavirus or simply COVID-19 is having a lasting impact on communities and the world's economy for months now. But one of the sectors to bear the brunt of this impact is tourism, hospitality and travel.

For most African countries, the experience is similar from the closure of hotels, restaurants, and evacuation of tourists amid the tourist season and with the shock of the Thomas Cook bankruptcy is certainly have a negative impact on the tourist industry.

Tourism is considered a major contributor to the Gambia’s economy accounting for about 14 to 15 percent directly to GDP while the indirect contribution to GDP reflects an even greater importance of tourism to the nation.

With over thousands of people benefiting directly and indirectly from the sector, it generates about millions in foreign exchange earnings making it the third contributor to the country’s GDP.

On Monday news emerged that Gambia Tourism Board have asked its staff to stay home with their salaries slashed by as a result of the devastating impact of the coronavirus to the country’s tourism.

The move, is not only disturbing but leaves much to be desired, considering people that depends on the travel and hospitality sector.

Though, the sector is seasonal in The Gambia with the season beginning in October and lasting until April. Despite plans to make it a year-round destination, many people it accommodates always put in place contingency plans to ameliorate their condition during the off seasons.

As global competition to attract arrival numbers continues, not is the time for us to diversify and improve on our products by adding additional products aimed at increasing arrival numbers. Globally, The Gambia is renowned for its abundant sun, sea and sand, which is available in other African destinations.

But what other new products is GTBoard putting in mind to add up to its existing list of products to encourage tourists to visit our shores.

Despite, The Gambia’s proximity to Europe, all year-round tropical weather, friendly English speaking populace, cheap prices, peace and stability, there is still more to be done to boost its arrival numbers.

It is only by adding up new diversified products that the country can boost of not only a must-go destination but a destination to be explored. Let’s continue to attract visitors to the Smiling Coast of The Gambia.