The Minister sent out this ‘no compromise’ message on Wednesday to every stakeholder and accommodation owners during his visit to Root Camp in Juffureh, a part of his ongoing tourism facilities tour.
He reminded the manager of the camp whose lodge would not be licensed until the required criteria are met by the proprietor that “standard is key, we cannot compromise that, this (Root Camp) is one of the places you can use to get your resources.”
The minister advised the management of the camp to rehabilitate or knock it down and start with few and standard rooms.
He further encouraged the management of the camp to work with the Gambia Tourism Board, Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute to enable them see how they can assist and make the place sellable “because the heritage site in the place has gone beyond Juffureh or Kunta Kinteh Island itself as it is internationally recognised.”
Therefore, he added, there is need to put standard facilities in this area (Juffureh, Kunta Kinteh Island and related areas) to attract spending guests and make a big difference in the lives of people who live there and also government.
He reiterated that officials can only take note and report and when it is below standard it will be closed, “so any facilities that is not meeting the required standard will be closed down because we want to improve on the image of The Gambia and our tourism.”
According to him it is better to have few rooms that are of international standard than having “some rooms that cannot attract D200 a night, but if you build it to standard you can make up to D1000 a room and per night from guests both Gambians and non-Gambians.”
Besides that, he said his Ministry wants anybody who comes to Juffureh, Albreda and Kunta Kinteh Island from any part of the world to go back home with good image of the area, Kunta Kinteh Island and the entire Gambia.
“This is due to the fact that the position of this government is to improve standard for the people to use so that people that are coming will enjoy what they called value for money,”
He therefore appreciated effort of the lodge’s owners for having the place “but we cannot compromise with not up to standard facilities,” he emphasised.