By Tabora Bojang
The Minister of Tourism and Culture Hamat NK Bah has embarked on a conducted tour of hotels within the Greater Banjul Area mostly under renovation to assess the progress of work and other logistical challenges they are facing as the new tourist season 2017-18 gets underway.
The minister was accompanied by a high-powered delegation including the director generals of the Gambia Tourism Board, National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI), and other affiliated institutions under the purview of the tourism ministry.
Minister Bah and his entourage visited the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Wadner Beach, Cape Point, African Village, Sunset and Fajara Hotels and the Katchikally Crocodile pool.
Speaking to journalists after the tour, minister Bah said the purpose of his tour is to obtain firsthand information on the ground and their state of preparedness coming into the new season.
“I am very impressed and I think some of the hotels are extremely good, some need a bit of boost whiles some need complete overhaul,” minister Bah said.
Adding: “If you sell a product and people accept to buy it, you must make sure when they come they are not disappointed. As a result, I believe I have to go myself to see what happens how prepared they are.”
According to minister Bah, the Government has spent put a lot of efforts to promote the destination as well as re-branding the image of the country after the dictatorial rule.
“I am very optimistic of the future of the tourism sector because we have got a huge number of requests for investment with genuine investors and they are ready to invest in the Gambia which shows that people who left this country never willing to return are back and are coming in a big way,” he said.
He said one of the challenges is the problem of investment to re-fix some of these hotels (Laico Atlantic, Fajara Hotel and Wadner Beach) and the provision of quality, saying “this country has to go for an upmarket tourism. We will still maintain our traditional tourist but we also need to graduate to another level so big spending tourist can come and contribute to our economy.”