1st tourist flight arrives with 164 on board

Oct 17, 2022, 11:41 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

The first flight for 2022-2023 tourists’ season, Gambia Experience from the United Kingdom, on Friday 14 October landed at the Banjul International Airport with 164 passengers.

The air-bus was received on arrival by officials from The Gambia Tourism Board, tour operators and other tourism stakeholders.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the landing of the aircraft at the Banjul International Airport, Abubacarr Camara, director general, Gambia Tourism Board, said he was very impressed with the number, adding it’s a blessing as the season had started earlier than expected.

“We all know where we are coming, we have been affected by covid-19 since 2020-2021. So this year we are making an impact which is really a great achievement,” he said, adding this is the first flight of Gambia Experience and they would be coming three times a week from the UK only.

According to DG Camara, they are also expecting about four flights from TUI, two flights from Belgium and two flights from Holland, “the Rainbow Tours, Correndon are all coming big which is also a big improvement.”

“As I am speaking, we are expecting 20 chartered flights coming to this year’s tourist season compared to 16 chartered flights last year.

“We will also be having another flight which is coming from the sub-region, although we have an issue with Air France which has reduced one flight from five to four,” but we’re hoping that from discussion with them, they would increase the number of flights.  

Although COVID has hit us hard but whatever the case maybe, we would not also want to see standards that are going down.

On the issue of quality standards, the GTBoard director general said it would not be compromised “because our inspectors are going round to inspect all facilities and anybody found wanting, we would stop that facility from operating.”

Adama Njie, director of Marketing Gambia Tourism Board, informed journalists that GTBoard in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism is pushing a lot on the chartered flights, but we are also stabilising on the scheduled flights coming to the destination.

On the issue of the operational levies at the airport, Mr Njie told journalists that they were working with the government concerning the issue, adding that the president has even set a task committee to look into the issue.

“The concern has been raised not only by Tour Operators, but even Gambians. It is not our wish but we are doing everything possible to make sure that the issue is solved.

Oumie Sise-Sallah, the manager for Discovery Tour, said “we have one flight a week and that’s going to change twice and in December there will be additional flights for Gambia Experience.”

“We really need to work a lot in order to make our destination the best,” she said, adding that it’s the responsibility of the authorities to get the security we need in this country.