By Momodou Torp
The head of Cooperation of EU Delegation to The Gambia Stephene Meert said seasonal tourism is not doing the country much good, and that it is a contributing factor to poverty in The Gambia.
He called for ways to end the practice, saying every year the sector is forced to lay off half of its staff and thereby creating poverty and lack of jobs in the country.
“This means during six months, most of the hotel rooms are empty. How can they be competitive?” he asked.
He called on the sector to diversify its products and services to create better means of improving the economy. He stressed that foods that are consumed in our restaurants and hotels come from abroad. He said Gambian farmers should be the generators or suppliers of those provisions for these businesses.
Tourism workers have also been airing their frustrations about seasonal tourism and its impacts on their lives and livelihood.
Alhagie Jobe, a waiter at the Senegambia Beach hotel, lamented that “as a family man, to sit for six months without work, is very frustrating. It would have been better if the season is adjusted to just two months break or even no break at all.”
“Because of this seasonal tourism, I am always forced to take loans which to be honest is quite a burden,” Isatou Jallow, also a waitress, stated.
“I am not able to save anything for the family,” she added.
Alieu Camara also talked about how seasonal tourism continues to affect his children’s education, calling for immediate action to change the status quo.