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City of Banjul
Monday, November 23, 2020

Thomas Cook’s collapse and our tourism industry

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Industry professionals around the world have expressed concern over the collapse of Thomas Cook, the oldest tour operator in the world.

They have expressed fear that it could have a negative impact on tourism.

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This means that The Gambia is likely to be affected by this unfortunate news.

Thomas Cook, being the big company it is, has many airlines and ferries thousands of tourists to different destinations around the world, including The Gambia.

In addition to their own operations, other tour operators also use Thomas Cook to ferry tourists into the country.

As tourists booking of flights is usually done very early in the year, it is likely that thousands of tourists, particularly those from the British market, might have booked their flights to The Gambia with Thomas Cook already.

The collapse of the company would mean that many of those are unlikely going to get back their money to enable them scout for other operators.

Thus, many may simply cancel their visits till next year or another time. This will certainly reduce the number of visitors to The Gambia this year.

Added to this concern is the climate of uncertainty hanging over the country due to the possibility of protests in December 2019 which may or may not be peaceful.

This can also have an impact on the number of tourists visiting The Gambia.

As it is, there is not much the Government of The Gambia, or anyone for that matter, can do about the Thomas Cook issue but efforts can and should be made to ensure that other tour operators quickly come into the market and seek to assure tourists that they can still be flown to the Gambia safely.

On the issue of the planned protests by the Three Years Jotna movement, the Government must understand that ignoring it will not make it go away; it cannot be wished away.

They must take practical measures and seek a dialogue with the proponents of this movement so they can come to an agreement of sort.

The saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is relevant here. Let the authorities seek measures to avert this before it is too late!

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