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Gambia: Gambia Tourism Profile


BANJUL THE GAMBIA The ferry across the River Gambia where concepts such as full are unknown.
Stable economy provides funds for travel and tourism

Despite possessing an underdeveloped economy at the same time as compared to other African nations, which take chance of the rich natural resources available, Gambia has been capable of presenting interesting economic increase indicators. The high impact of agriculture and the exportation of agriculture products have been enabling the country’s GDP to grow and an increasing level of funds has been provided in order to develop travel and tourism-related infrastructures and services.

Gambia Tourism Authority holds a decisive role within travel and tourism

The Gambian Government has by presently recognised that travel and tourism has huge potential to help grow the country’s economy; as a result, it has been making efforts to offer funding to the official Gambia Tourism Authority. Under the slogan, “Go discover... the smiling coast of Africa”, the Gambia Tourism Authority has been making its presence known in significant international promotional fairs and events and has been forming partnerships with international embassies. Its good results are evident and its major goal is to turn travel and tourism into a major industry within Gambia.

Travel and tourism diversity makes Gambia an international draw

Although some of the major travel and tourism infrastructures remain at underdeveloped, the extraordinary diversity of that travel and tourism opportunities that Gambia has to offer has been attracting a lot of tourists. European tourists, particularly British, Dutch and Swedish ones, are attracted to the exceptional weather conditions and luxury resorts available. In parallel, ecotourism, bird watching, fishing and boat trips as well attract tourists to visit the Gambian territory.

Commonwealth expulsion and sex tourism have negative impact

Glamorous and luxury resorts conceal local misery, human rights violations and other social problems. There are recurring reports of political opponents being executed and abuses of power by the Government. Political and monetary power is available only to a small group of citizens close to the Government and this scenario creates social unrest. In addition, Gambia’s travel and tourism industry is as well known for the worst reasons. Child sex tourism is still widespread in the country and this led to Gambia’s expulsion from the Commonwealth, which has created a fear that there will be a social and economic setback.
Marketing efforts expected to boost travel and tourism

Due to the fear created by Gambia’s expulsion from the Commonwealth in October 2013, its Government is working to address all of the accusations under the penalty of additional international sanctions. In parallel, supported by the Gambia Tourism Authority, the Government is expected to reinforce its marketing and promotional activities in order to boost the travel and tourism industry over the estimate period, with all categories anticipated to grow.


Travel and tourism industry grows amidst the world recession

Popularly known as “The Smiling Coast of Africa”, the travel and tourism industry in Gambia continued to grow in the review period amidst the world recession. Tourist numbers are increasing and as a result, are providing strong gain revenue for the country. Gambia is capitalising on its reputation as one of the safest and cheapest travel destinations in Africa. The Gambian government has recognised the importance of the travel and tourism industry in the country and is fully committed to its development so as to increase its contribution to the economy. It has embarked on a number of measures to boost the industry’s development, such as running tourism campaigns on major platforms such as CNN to encourage foreign tourists to see what the country has to offer.

Diversification of tourism products

The travel and tourism industry in Gambia is currently reliant on charter flights with the vast majority of tourists visiting the country on travel packages. Aware of increasing competition from emerging tourist destinations, inclunding the changing trends in world tourism, the Gambian government is looking for ways to craft new tourism products and as well improve existing ones in a bid to meet the ever changing tastes of discerning tourists who are craving new high quality experiences. Efforts are being made to enhance the development of cultural heritage and eco-tourism so as to compete and position Gambia firmly in the vibrant international travel and tourism industry. A new multi-million dalasi beach craft market has been commissioned and will create a favourable environment for domestic tourism players to showcase their products to tourists visiting the country.

Cultural heritage tourism potential

Culture plays an significant role in the daily lives of a lot of Gambians. One of the fastest growing niches within Gambia’s travel and tourism industry is cultural heritage tourism. The country’s greatest investment is its rich blend of ethnic groups, beliefs and deeply-rooted traditions. As well representing its cultural completed are significant historic buildings and heritage sites associated with slavery, European settlement and colonisation of the country. Gambia is in a great position to capitalise on cultural heritage tourism as the government is committed to attracting additional visitors inclunding heritage tourists, culture seekers, ethnic travellers and other appropriate interest groups who are keen to discover their roots. Some of the major festivals that will contribute to the development of cultural heritage tourism in Gambia include the Banjul Demba Cultural Festival and the International Homecoming Roots Festival, inclunding the Kanilai International Cultural Festival.

Sex tourism remains a major cause for concern

The travel and tourism industry’s increase not only represents an economic boom for Gambia, but it is as well having a negative socioeconomic and cultural impact in the case of sex tourism. Sexual exploitation is a growing problem which concerns a lot of nations and while travel and tourism is not due to blame for sex tourism in Gambia, the industry makes it possible. In order to address this threat, Gambia introduced the Tourism Offences Act in 2003 and has as well set up a national task force to address child sex tourism. A national plan of action has as well been developed. The government is as well a member of the Task Force to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism, a multi-agency group set up by the World Tourism Organization.

Optimism despite slow recovery of the world economy

Despite the slow recovery of the world economy, the travel and tourism industry in Gambia is poised for a bright next. Government efforts to expand and diversify the industry will have a significantly positive impact on the economy over the estimate period. The country’s great tourism potential, combined with the fact that Gambia is regarded as a cheap and friendly holiday destination, will make the country stand out amongst the best travel destinations in West Africa. Nevertheless, like other travel destinations, tourism in Gambia has continued to impose a lot of challenges. Major potential estimate threats to increase that need to be addressed include prostitution, drug peddling, human rights violations and the increasing number of “bumsters”local people who hassle tourists for cash.