By Isatou Jawara
The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hamat Bah has said that former President Yahya Jammeh tampered with 35% of tourism reserve lands, turning them in to his personal property which caused a big blow to the tourism sector and a distraction to foreign investors.
The Tourism Minister was addressing an audience consisting of World Bank officials who were recently in the country to meet government to discuss about the macro economic performance of The Gambia.
Mr Bah however revealed that negotiations are going on to regain the lands and the Commission of Inquiry too is investigating into the land grabbing of the former president.
The Tourism Minister added that the sector contributed 25 percent to the GDP and intensive efforts are being made to regain the European Market amid tough competition from Egypt and Tunisia among others.
“The challenge we are facing now is the legacy of the previous political distraction such as the political impasse and the complications from Ebola era but even with that, we recorded the biggest number of arrivals this year,” he said.
The Tourism Minister concluded by lamenting the lack of proper infrastructure which he said is a constraint for the tourism industry. He appealed to the private sector to invest to build more five star hotels, entertainment facilities which will further attract more tourists and create more jobs for the youth.
The meeting was chaired by the vice president.