#National News

Stakeholders discuss assessment of river jetties

May 20, 2024, 11:00 AM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

In its quest for charting a pivotal course towards a more competitive, inclusive and resilient tourism sector in The Gambia, the Tourism Diversification and Resilience of The Gambia Project (TDRGP) recently held a daylong forum to discuss the assessment of River Jetties across the country as well as their tourism capacity and development options.

The forum held at Lemon Creek Hotel was attended by relevant stakeholders from different sectors, members of site communities and consultants (Royal Haskoning DHV and CityScapes among others.)

Momodou Ceesay, project director for the TDRGP in his remarks on behalf of Cordu L. Jabang-Senghore, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture said tourism plays a critical role in the economic fabric of The Gambia.

He underscored the importance of the natural assets, saying The Gambia possesses the River Gambia, which runs the entire length of the country and beyond into the highlands of Guinea.

The river and surrounding land, he explained, provide a rich diversity of natural habitats, offering a variety of existing tourist locations and experiences, many based on not only immersive eco-tourism, but also offering a wealth of possible tourism enhancement opportunities.

"The River Gambia, with its rich biodiversity and cultural heritage, presents a golden opportunity to expand and diversify our tourism sector," he stated while adding that by developing infrastructure along the river, we can attract tourists to inland areas offering them unique experiences such as bird watching, dolphin spotting at the mouth of the ocean and exploration of cultural heritage sites.

“Therefore, this strategic shift not only broadens the scope of tourism in The Gambia but also mitigates the risks associated with over-reliance on beach tourism,” he added.

The project director however noted that the river itself is currently used to some extent as a transport link, but stated that this is limited due to the lack of suitable landing sites and supporting access and infrastructure surrounding the landing points.

Moving on, he said TDRGP aims to develop a more competitive, inclusive and resilient tourism sector by enhancing access to the interior of The Gambia through improvements in the transport potential of the River Gambia.

"To achieve these objectives, the project will be executed in three phases, spanning approximately 11 months. From the inception phase, where key stakeholders are engaged to define the scope and assessment criteria, to the assessment phase, where crucial data is gathered to formulate potential solutions, and finally, to the results phase," Mr Ceesay broke down the process.

Taking the podium to address the gathering at the opening were officials of the consultants followed by different presentations, discussions, and group works.