MoTC renews call for domestic, regional tourism

Sep 9, 2020, 12:10 PM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

Gambia Tourism and Culture minister has once again renewed the call for intensifying domestic and regional tourisms, one part that is yet to receive attention in the country.

Tourism being one of the worst hit sectors worldwide with the outbreak of the coronavirus, the country has not been spared by the effects. Minister Hamat N.K. Bah says there is no better time than now to start embracing domestic and regional tourism.

He noted that most of the countries that have resumed their tourism session around the world reopened with domestic and regional tourism, citing Kenya as good example where over 30% of their tourists are formed by domestic tourism.”

He disclosed that during the Africa Summit 2020 organised by African Leadership Magazine in May, “we emphasised on the importance of domestic and regional markets and the Gambia’s position was adopted by many countries in the world.” This position put across during the summit, he reiterated “is to develop domestic and regional tourism markets.”

Since the country cannot continue depending on international alliance “because we don’t control over what happen in those countries, so the ultimate way is to develop our domestic and regional markets and our culture must be attached to our tourism.”

He added that with domestic tourism Gambians can as well be tourists in their own country while Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans, Senegalese, and other nationals from the region can come to the country as tourists too.

Meanwhile, Minister Bah outlined the lack of good facilities up country among challenges of domestic tourism. “Although, Gambia doesn’t have the facilities for domestic tourism before but now we (MoTC and GTBoard) have started the construction of lodges and hotels in the regional areas where construction is currently ongoing in NBR, CRR and URR.”

In addition to that, he pointed out that Ministry of Environment through the United Nations Climate Change Programme is also coming up with another four lodges to complement the five lodges under construction as “a good start numbers to have conferences upcountry.”

Looking forward for recovery as the winter tourism season 2020 is set to commence soon, Mr. Bah noted that with Covid-19 still on, nobody can predict how many tourists will come to the country.

“But we need to take this period to learn about Covid-19 as regarding how to manage it. There is need to learn how to live with it because it is here to stay like malaria, HIV and other diseases,” he said.

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