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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Tourism reacts to D38.5M scandal

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The tourism ministry has rubbished rumours on social media that it has mismanaged over 38 million dalasis.
In a press statement debunking the rumours, the tourism ministry said those monies were actually earmarked for construction of eco-lodges.

It said: “The Ministry of Tourism and Culture wishes to inform the public that rumours circulating on social media of a 38.5-million-dalasi scandal is totally false and unfounded. These amounts are part of funds set aside for the construction of five eco-lodges strategically located on the banks of The River Gambia, planned before the advent of Covid-19. The eco-lodges will be located in the North Bank Region; Kunkiling Forest Park, Central River Region, Sotuma Samba in the Upper River Region, Nyana Bantang and Arafat in the Central River Region. The process has already commenced, and the projects once completed will be visible to the public.

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The contract was processed and awarded by the Gambia Tourism Board following a vigorous bidding process. The Ministry therefore, disassociates itself with any form of misinformation geared towards personal defamation of character of credible and reputable personnel. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture is also not aware of the Save Tourism Stakeholders Association who seem to be keenly and maliciously pedalling false information online about senior staff and the disappearance of funds.

The eco-lodges will have four-star comforts and will set the standards in up-country tourism facilities. Upon completion, the eco-lodges are expected to generate hundreds of direct and indirect employments to the youth and will further harness the tourism potential of The River Gambia, such as the use of river craft to access the eco-lodges in order to revive River transport.

The eco-lodges fit neatly into the policy of the Ministry as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021 which emphasizes ‘Promoting an inclusive and culture-centred tourism for sustainable growth’ and situates culture-centred tourism a pride of place.

The public is also kindly invited to note that the GT Board Act grants administrative and financial autonomy to its independent Board of Directors and as a result, it is in no way controlled or managed by any individual. We therefore assure the public of our commitment to national development and wish to reiterate that in all the two periodic reviews of the NDP made so far, Tourism and Culture has come out as the best performing sector as far as the goals of the NDP are concerned.”

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