Tourism Minister says not all gov’t travels are wasteful

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By Omar Bah

The Minister of Tourism has reacted to critics who term government officials’ foreign travels as wasteful adventures.  Over the last few years, government ministers and civil servants have come under immense criticism for their frequent travelling which in many cases doesn’t yield any dividend for the country.

Speaking at random after launching the Tourism Diversification and Resilience project yesterday, Hamat NK Bah said contrary to what critics are suggesting “not all government travels are wasteful”.

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“President Barrow, when you bring any justifiable reason for travelling, he will approve it but when it is not justified, he will disapprove it. That is why when people are insulting and abusing ministers and civil servants for traveling abroad knowing some of the conditions we go through when we travel, it becomes a shame on us. Today, we have D4.2 billion free money because we travel to go and bring it to this country,” Minister Bah said, referring to the just launched project.

He added: “Every newspaper you open, we are being abused and insulted for travelling. How do you think in your wildest dream we would have brought D4.2 billion to this country on grant, if we had not traveled outside? It is good to criticise but sometimes the criticism must be objective.”

Meanwhile, Minister Bah also announced that the president has lifted all Covid-19 travel restrictions. He said the move is part of the government’s sustainable drive to promote Destination Gambia.

“Henceforth, all COVID-19 restrictions in the country are lifted. This will curtail excess spending on the tourists and other holidaymakers to the Destination Gambia,” he said, adding that lifting the restrictions is a welcome development for the country’s tourism sector.