By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
The National Assembly Select Committee Members on Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sport is on a nation-wide tour of institutions under its purview.
The tour according to the parliamentarians is aimed at visiting relevant stakeholders with a view to discussing issues affecting the tourism sector in the country in order to come out with tangible recommendations.
The select committee members visited different hotels, Senegambia craft market, the Banjul International Airport, Banjul mini stadium, Serekunda west and east mini stadiums, among other places.
The committee members are also expected to visit places in the rural Gambia which include Fort Bullen, James Island, and Juffereh in the North Bank Region (NBR), Mongo Pack in Sami karantaba, Wassu Stone Circles in CRR North, Bansang Hill Top CRR South, and some historical places within URR and LRR.
The Chairman of the committee Honourable Alhagie S. Darboe who is also the NAM for Brikama North spoke at length on the significance of the tour.
Honourable Darboe said different national assembly committees have headed different parts of the country to get firsthand hand information in all sectors.
The tour, he noted, will make their work easy at the parliament. He said during the tour the select committee members will be gathering reports which will serve as their guideline and it will be presented to the ministries when they submit their report to the assembly.
“The tour is not witch-hunting any institutions; it is meant to avail us the opportunity to meet with the different players and discuss with them with a view to knowing some of the top challenges and constraints they are encountering,” he posited.
During a visit to the Ocean Bay Hotel in Bakau, the assistant general manager Buba Bah stressed that the hotel operation especially in The Gambia has standard procedures.
Ocean Bay Hotel, he explained, has 195 rooms of which currently 90 to 100 rooms have all been occupied. Bah maintained that poor electricity supply is one of their top challenges, saying that most of the time they use their stand-by generator which is very expensive.
The Human Resources Manager at Sun Set Beach Hotel Macumba Njie also echoed similar sentiment about the continued poor electricity supply. This, he noted, is affecting their business, and thus buying fuel for their generators is very expensive. Sun Set Beach Hotel, he explained, is 14 years-old with 97 rooms.
The human resources manager of Coco Ocean Spa and Resort Modou Gaye dwelled on the importance of the tour, while describing it as timely particularly during the tourist season, adding that at the moment they have a low turnout of tourist. However, he is optimistic that this year’s tourist season will be good.