Tourism minister outlines recovery plans

Feb 25, 2022, 11:05 AM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

The minister of Tourism and Culture (MoTC) Tuesday gave a comprehensive update of his ministry’s achievements during the pandemic period, while outlining series of recovery plans undertaken to manage the situation.

Hamat N.K. Bah was addressing members of the press, as witnessed by some of the senior officials of institutions: Gambia Tourism Board, Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute and National Center for Arts and Culture officials, under the egis of his Ministry. He said that destination Gambia currently is receiving 53 flights per week at the Banjul International Airport.

The flight frequencies per week, he said, comprises 16 chartered and 37 scheduled flights and “the chartered flights include Corredon airlines 3 flights; TUI UK 4 flights; Gambia Experience 2 flights; TAP Portugal 3 flights; Vuelling 2 flights all on weekly basis; while the scheduled flights include Air France daily flight; Air Peace 4 flights; ASKY 4 flights; Air Senegal 6 flights; Trans Air 3 flights; Royal Air Maroc 5 flights; Turkish Airlines 2 flights and Brussels Airlines 6 times a week. And hopefully Rainbow Tours will be flying once a week from Poland,” when start.

Among other achievements outlined by the minister include his ministry’s collaboration with the GTBoard to coordinate  on several occasions the vaccination campaigns exercises in TDA to boost customers confidence in destination Gambia as safe for travel; worked hand in-glove with stakeholders – hoteliers, international tour operators, tourism SMEs to pave way to the opening of the tourism industry.

More so, achievements on tourism include “three feeder roads within the West Coast TDA 1 identified for construction (which two are currently under construction); while the Ministry through the GTBoard distributed facemasks, water buckets and sanitizers to vendors.

Dilating on the achievements at the culture sector, Minister Bah disclosed that the National Centre for Arts and Culture with support from MoTC and GTBoard continued to financially support the successful organisations of festivals in the past two months alone, while as close to 10 festivals and more are coming.

On heritage, he said “works for the rehabilitation of Mungo Park Memorial Obelisk at Karntaba will be officially kicked off in few weeks.”

The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, among its achievements include development of a revised curriculum to meet international standards in tourism and hospitality with adequate teaching and learning materials at certificate level that meets the needs of the industry nationwide; provide professional tourism and hospitality vocational training for over 3500 youth during the period under review; establishment of a fully equipped bakery centre with a capacity to train 100 bakers; and pastry cooks; establishment of a digital library with volumes of reading materials.

Honorable Bah added that in a bid to decentralise tourism activities nationwide, an expansion programme in tourism and hospitality training in rural Gambia was initiated in Janjangbureh in the Central River Region in partnership with the YEP with 240 young Gambians to build capacity  and create employment opportunities.

Other achievements of the period under review are cooperation agreements with Ecole Nationale de Formatin Hoteliere et Touristique of Senegal and Casa Africa of Spain; closer cooperation and collaboration with the private sector resulted in the review of student internship resulting in the earlier commencement of the placement in hotels in preparation for the envisaged all year-round tourism.

The Minister, however, affirmed that Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Gambia Tourism Board will continue to work with its tourism stakeholders towards restoring more confidence and tourism growth for destination Gambia that can translate into more flights and visitors to Destination Gambia.

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