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Monday, October 2, 2023

Tourist guides, fruit sellers say Ebola wrecking tourism


In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Lamin Jammeh, a tourist guide said: “All around the world the media is talking about Ebola and this is having a serious effect on us at the moment. We are aware that some European traveling agencies are advising their customers not to come to The Gambia or any other West African country because of the Ebola outbreak. This is having a negative effect on us because if that was not the case we will be having lot of tourists here and people will start going up and down doing their jobs. Although none of my European friends told me that they are not coming to The Gambia this year, the travel agency who used to bring them here, they said, have cancelled all their flights to The Gambia until December. One of them (my friends) felt our pain and has agreed with me that this epidemic is affecting our work because with it there will be likely no tourists coming anytime soon and that means no business for us at the moment. They told me the travel agency that used to bring them has cancelled their trips for now otherwise they would have been here. Nobody seems happy here. We are all sad.” 

“Another factor that is hindering our work is the manner in which the Western media is handling the Ebola epidemic,” Jammeh continued. “In their reports they would always say ‘the Ebola epidemic in West Africa’ instead of some parts of West Africa. This is affecting us even today because most European tourists would think that the whole of West Africa is affected while that is never the case. We want them to change their style of reporting, he said.

Ms Amie Conteh, 54, a fruit seller said: “We are deeply affected by the epidemic. Last year was a successful season for us and we had hoped that in fact things will improve even much better this time around but now with this life threatening disease our plight is there for everyone to see. I pray Doctors find a cure before December. That will be wonderful for us and our families at home. 

Dembo Sidibeh, a batik seller, also shared similar views. He pointed out that tourists in large numbers cannot come to The Gambia while the Western media is tarnishing Africa’s image and in the process creating serious blows to our livelihoods and to our African economies. He called for a halt to what he described as “European influence”. 


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