The Gambia Hotel Association, GHA, hosted a 3 days tourism educational summer camp, learning exchange and a symposium hosting over 400 students from several regions in Senegal led to the Gambia by the Senegalese Association of Instructors of Educational Groups, AECES, as part of efforts to promote and share knowledge on educational tourism and the promotion of the Senegambia destination.
The Banjul symposium and summer camp, which comes as part of a six-year mutually beneficial partnership between GHA and AECES, brought together students from Senegal joined by their Gambian counterparts to learn from each other on tourism, civic education and digital technology.
The symposium was held at the Paradise Suites hotel this Saturday under the theme; Digital Security in the Service of Diplomacy and Educational Groups delivered by former Ambassador Essa Bokar Sey and other distinguished guest speakers from Senegal.
The colourful ceremony attended by the Executive Secretary of the Senegalo-Gambia Permanent Secretariat Elhadji Ibou Boye, Senegalese charge de affairs, GHA chairman Francis Njie, AECES president Badara Badiane, Gambia Tourism Board director general Abubacarr Camara and Directeur du Cabinet Khalifa Ababacarr who represented the Senegalese Minister of Youths and Sports.
According to the organisers, the exchange will lay strong grounds and conditions for a broad reflection on the problems common to the two countries in terms of education and leisure, initiate a common reflection on the use of social media, empower our young people to promote civic education and citizenship through digital technology and develop a multi-partner action program on tourism and civic education between Gambia and Senegal.
In his address at the opening ceremony, GHA chairman Francis Njie extended sincere gratitude to AECES, its past and present presidents for relocating this year’s summer camp and symposium to Gambia which will immensely contribute to the promotion of the Senegambia destination.
Njie used the opportunity to recognise the efforts of former GHA chairman Bunama Njie whose vision and leadership triggered and brought about the partnership between GHA and AECES.
“We are currently working and looking into ways of expanding our collaboration to the benefit of both parties,” chairman Njie noted.
The Executive Secretary of the Senegalo-Gambia Permanent Secretariat, Elhadji Ibou Boye, stated that the choice of the Gambia to host the event is not a coincidence, considering the excellent relations of good neighbourliness that happily exist between the two countries over the years.
“It is both a choice of heart and reason in the sense that Gambia with its numerous historical sites, attractive beaches, and quality hotel infrastructure is an oasis of peace and security, therefore a dream destination for all holiday-makers in search of peace, leisure and happiness. There is no doubt that the movements of summer camps from Senegal to Gambia, and from Gambia to Senegal can contribute effectively to the consolidation of good relations and facilitate integration.”
AECES president Badara Badian said the delegation is proud and overwhelmed with Gambian solidarity and the warm welcome accorded to the team by its host Gambia Hotel Association.
He disclosed that despite several requests by other regions in Senegal including Casamance to organise the event, Gambia stands because it was the majority’s choice.
The AECES president assured of his Association’s continued partnership with GHA to promote and market the Senegambia destination through educational tourism.
GT Board director general, Abubacarr Camara said the event could not have come at a better time than now when tourism destinations across the world are recovering from the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thus, it becomes crucial to look into areas like digital security which is very vital in this recovery drive,” DG Camara added.
The event also witnessed conferment of awards of appreciation to the Executive Secretary of the Gambia Hotel Association Marion Nyan and former chairman Bunama Njie for their outstanding service to the associations.