Good morning Hon Minister of Tourism and Culture of The Gambia. The Cape Point Tourist Guide Association (GPTGA) of The Gambia wishes to take this solemn space, day, date and time of early January in the year of 2020cto extend our seasonal greetings and by extension to your family, your government and Gambian home and abroad for a peaceful 2020, prosperous 2020 and also a rewarding and fulfilling 2020, Amen.
Going forward, we wish to bring to your humble attention some defining and strategic problems that are and continue to plague our tourism sector, known and unknown under your watch and care as Minister of Tourism. The Cape Point Tourists Guide Association (GPTGA) of The Gambia is in no illusion that you have men and women or should have to give proper, accurate and undiluted professional advices to you for decision but looking at things it is happening. However, it could be due to some instances of lack of proper professional advice and conviction by men who are supposed to inform you but chose to misinform you. It is also becoming clearer that sometimes the problems are known, discussed but get acted upon by men who are supposed to work for you and are being paid by taxpayers monies but choose to capitalise on the lapses that are inherent within your inner circles to evade necessary checkpoints and compounding the woes of our tourism sector and all its subsectors. However, the following are problems we wish to mail to you to address as Minister to ease our lives and livelihood as Tourists Guides.
The demise of Thomas Cook had the greatest negative effect on our tourism since gaining Independence from White Colonial Rule. The aftershocks of this sudden pull out are still being felt and most drastically in the ongoing 2019/2020 tourism season here in The Gambia. If any masquerading tourism expert tells you we are coping with the demise of Thomas Cook, he or she is just trying to misinform you or better still fool you at the detriment of the Gambian people. Thomas Cook brought us so many successes, treasured memories and incomes be it directly or indirect that will stay with us for the rest of our days here on earth.
The Cape Point Tourists Guide Association wishes to inform you through this medium that the substitute to Thomas Cook is poor, unable, weak and fragile and Corundum is not what Thomas Cook was. Mr Minister your ministry should revisit that decision and come up with an adequate replacement to Thomas Cook before we are doomed. Thomas Cook has not been replaced in substance and activities that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth and if anyone has a different notion, they are politically motivated.
The 2019/2020 tourism season is a total failure and even during peak tourism period like now it looks like a stroll in the parks day out shopping with no impact on the lives and livelihood of tourism operators and most profoundly tourist guides.
We have also seen serious cases of seeming sabotage where Tour Operators and Tour Reps are misinforming and misrepresenting our interest as a nation to tourists and potential visitors. They need to be cautioned as foreign based tour operators to sell and accurately inform their clientele the true picture of our country instead of tarnishing the name of our country. in the process they are spreading lies and rumour that is unfounded and damaging to our welfare and interest as a nation. To date this smear campaign has sent and is sending hundreds of tourists away and preventing them from having a great experience and visit to our lovely country. the actions of some of these tour operators must be brought to book and they should be monitored and were found wanting and damaging the good name of our country be charged so as to put a full stop to it.
The Ministry of Tourism must also do more sensitisation and sell the country to new markets and frontiers to further promote our tourism better. The Ministry of Tourism should also try and move away from the ancient modes and strategies of promoting our tourism and adapt to new techniques and waves of selling Destination The Gambia.
The Cape Point Tourists Guide Association is also concerned that The Gambia media both home and abroad must be invited by the government through the right protocols to dialogue. The media here and abroad must and should try and support to sell, promote and propagate the good name of the country, our culture and our tourism. At the present times the Gambian media is dwelling too much on spreading damaging news and articles about the Gambia. that scares and sends tourists away and in its wake investments too!The media are partners in tourism development and must be treated and seen as such and be cop opted to join the crusade to sell and promote the good name of the country and its fledging tourism. The media must be consulted and confronted that selling propagating hate news and bad news about the country will only further damage the good name of our tourism and stop potential tourists from visiting and the consequences are dire for our development and well being as a nation and a people.
The Cape Point Tourists Guide Association is very concerned about the very poor and deteriorating state of our tourism and something new should be done to save our tourism. We hope it happens soon becaue everyday that passesses, our wounds are further sucked by the files as we are set to wait yet again for a very long season to come with little assurances that the trend established will not continue.
Three years jotna must be engaged and a common platform be created to discuss the issues and stop all the hate speaking and insults that has become the sure name of our beloved country. the threats and hare campaigns are daily harming our tourism and the damage could take years to repair. Stop it now and dialogue and that is our message. You must find an avenue and solutions somehow to dialogue and sit with group for the sake of the country as we need peace to promote our tourism. Their campaign and utterances are damaging the soul this beautiful country’s tourism and it is being compounded daily. I hope you find a place and time in your heart to engage them. Dialogue, is the sword of the wise and taking will unfreeze the tensions and a common resolution could be reached.
The Cape Point Tourists Guide Association wishes to reiterate the fact that as brothers and sisters and being bended our common love for country we could get over these threats and hate speeches and help our tourism grow and wane further. The noise of the 3 Years Jotna are indeed very disturbing and damaging to our economy and tourism to say the least and if any one within your immediate and pouter circles is telling you the opposite they are just trying secure their positions. We are with tourists daily and we take them everywhere they want to go and we heard voices that you don’t hear from the comfort of your office. Those giving you information are not with the tourist but we are and we are telling you the war of words between you is tearing the country apart tourism wise. Please find a way to enter into dialogue with this group in the interest of the country and its tourist. There comes a time in politics when it is only dialogue that can curtail the harm and damage and we are at that stage here in the Gambia.
Eddi Janha -PRO
For: Cape Point Tourists Guides Association (GPTGA)