Gov’t has a choice: Either to kill tourism industry or revive it for the greater good of the country

Jun 28, 2024, 12:34 PM | Article By: Sheikh Tejan Nyang


We are further guided by this letter which supports and advocates for good administrative practices in all airport services and ours is no exception


IATA - NO to D1200 Passenger Levy.

Mr. Fansou Bojang

Director General

The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority Banjul, The Gambia

Email: dg@gcaa.aero

Date 10/05/2023 Ref MS/1502/07

 Your Ref: AVB 145/176/01 (75) Implementation of revised passenger charges at Banjul International Airport.

Dear Mr. Bojang,

This serves as acknowledgement to, and receipt of the letter dated 29th March 2023, from The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) concerning implementation of revised passenger charges at Banjul International Airport.

The contents of the letter are noted albeit with disappointment as the process followed is still flawed and not aligned to ICAO user charges setting policies and principles espoused in Doc 9082. This is being further reiterated by ICAO per their State Letter1 which calls for signatory States to respect these policies and was reiterated also at the Joint ICAO-IATA Africa Regional User Charges Workshop conducted in Dakar; Senegal, 13-14 March 2023, to which the esteemed DG of The Gambia CAA was in attendance.

During a side meeting held between IATA and the GCAA in Dakar, IATA shared a spreadsheet whereby financial data was to be populated for interrogation in a follow up consultative meeting which we anticipated to take place prior to finalization of any of the charges. This has not been shared with IATA and the airlines, and it is also not clear where we can access the audited financial performance. Whilst we appreciate the figures appended to the letter from the GCAA, this is nonetheless not sufficient as we require proper information on OPEX, CAPEX and traffic developments.

The fees are deemed to be too high and add to the already numerous charges and fees that have been imposed by The Gambia. These are “Immigration Charges” and therefore are discriminatory versus any person arriving in the Gambia by any other means of transport (for instance car, bus, boat).

The Safety and security remain our number one priority cannot be compromised, and we appreciate collaborative enhancements and efficiencies in processes and infrastructure developments, but in the absence of meaningful user consultation and transparent financial information, the airline industry is not able to evaluate and appreciate the cost-relation between the provision of the new safety services and the level and structure of related fees.

IATA’s position remains that the industry should not be charged for security2 as this is a state’s responsibility and for the new Safety Fee and the PSC increase, the rationale behind the levels still needs to be provided, as well as the breakdown of the activities to be funded over the respective oversight areas.

We are also yet still to agree on the requested performance indicators that need to be put in place to measure the quality of service, productivity, and cost effectiveness of the measures.

We again implore The Gambia CAA to conduct a due and proper consultative process in alignment and adherence to the aviation industry principles. We remain at hand for further support and assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Kashif Khalid

Regional Director Operations, Safety and Security – AME- IATA

Africa & the Middle East

My question on the content of the letter is as follows:

  1. WHY is the Government of The Gambia not ably to supply the information requested? It is alleged that Security Port has the information and they have refused to give this information to The Government for onward transmission to IATA.
  2. UNFORTUNATELY: The government of The Gambia it seems has no say in the agreement with Security Port as they have a monopoly of all financial information as alleged. We are in serious trouble with this company and wondering when will this agreement come to an end? May Allah help us to get rid of this milking cow that has no benefit to The Gambia our homeland.

To conclude, The tax burden on the sector at this stage is unwarranted and is killing the sector slowly .I would like the government of the Gambia to give due consideration to the tourism sector and give it the necessary support it deserved for it to be sustainable and not to let it die a natural death .The death of the sector will certainly bring more on undesirable social problems to The Gambia whichthe country will not be able to cope with .

Once more consider the airport tax and its increase is seen as a blight and not a blessing. The Ministry of Works & Interior and The Civil Aviation Authority must ensure that whatever motive they have in the increase of Airport Taxes IFgenuine should be in consultation with The Ministry of Tourism & Culture.There should not be any hidden agenda in the service of The Gambia Government in which we all belong and cherish.The sector needs a blessing for its revival and survival. God bless Gambian tourism. 

Sheikh Tejan Nyang

The Author of this article is a former Director of Tourism, Co-founder /Co Proprietor and Head of School of the Institute of Travel & Tourism of The Gambia and a TourismConsultant.