Jun 22, 2022, 11:17 AM
It is 40 years down the lane that the helicopter carrying former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara and his delegation crash-landed near Brikama Ba, some 280 kilometers away from Banjul.
In a brief interview, he explained that the total land arrival in 2021 was 217,593 – which increased by 147% (69,651) as compared to 2020 which recorded 147,942. “All the months in 2021 increased in arrivals.”
According to the Gambia Immigration Department, land was the most popular mode of entry into The Gambia, “as more especially our neighbouring country Senegal visit the destination by land and it is apparent that land arrivals are still being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as compared to arrivals during the previous years.”
Mr. Njie also disclosed that the sea arrivals from January to December 2021 recorded 11,669 visitors – an increase of 31% compared to 2020 (8,927). “There was an increase in arrivals in all months in 2021, too.”
And the total number of arrivals by air in 2021 was 102,460, an increase of 15% compared to 89,232 in 2020. This is an increase in arrivals to Destination Gambia for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“2021 recorded a significant increase in tourist arrivals particularly in the fourth quarter of the year, marking the return of tourist arrivals in Destination Gambia for the past two years 2019/2020,” Director Njie disclosed.
However, the summer months known as the Green Season in the Gambia accounted for 45% of total arrivals in 2021, showing a significant growth over 2020 summer period – which was a complete lockdown for the destination. “All the summer months as recorded, registered more than 100% growth in 2021.
Mr. Njie also said that Gambia tourism is perceived to be in the winter and green season. “The winter season begins in November and ends by April whilst the green season begins in May and lasts till October. So the winter season is the tourism peak period while the green period is rated to be low period for air arrivals. But lots of work is going to dispel it to promote the destination Gambia as a year-round destination.”
Despite the fact that the green season accounted for 45% of the total arrivals in 2021, he said, the winter months, which is peak from November to April each season, air arrival in 2021 was 56,896. The figure as compared to the 2020 winter arrivals of 82,795 showing a decline of 32%. “So, winter period contributed 55% of the total arrivals in 2021. A decline in arrivals observed especially in January (74%), February (79%) and March (63%) affected the total arrivals, but on the other hand November and December 2021 recorded an increase of 221% and 121% respectively compared to 2020.”
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