By Juldeh Njie
The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture(MOTC) has held a two-day training dubbed ‘Developing a training and certification programme for the Muslim Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry’ held at the GHTI boardroom.
The Standing committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation COMCEC funded programme is aimed at enhancing participants’ understanding of the vast opportunities and potentials presented by the growing number of Muslim tourists. It is also expected to facilitate the transfer of knowledge on the development and promotion of Muslim friendly tourism among IOC member counties.
In his welcoming remarks, Daouda Niang, director general GTHI expressed delight for receiving dignitaries in his institute in observance of this very important exercise which he described as one of the most recent efforts among many by the GHTI in transforming the human resource development landscape of the tourism sector in the Gambia and beyond.
Niang said the training will provide the requisite skill and knowledge needed for participating countries within the sub region to recognize the constraints of commonly used approaches for measuring service performance and develop alternatives that promote sustained quality and service excellence.
He continued: “Outline Muslim Friendly Culinary for chefs, this mainly practical unit will help learners to improve their skills in preparing Halal food and at the end of the unit; learners will accomplish all the necessary experience to start working as professional Halal chefs”.
He said this would not have been possible without the policy directive of the tourism ministry and the collaborative support of COMCEC and the Islamic Tourism Centre in Malaysia.
Speaking on behalf of the GT Board director Modou Bah said government should standardize and promote policies that are hotel friendly.
Speaking on behalf of the minister, Kodou Senghore permanent secretary at the ministry of tourism said: “International tourism continues to be one of the main pillars of economic and social development and indeed environmental conservation. It has increasingly become a complex business with supply and value chain running deeply through our economy not only in obvious ways like restaurant supplies but also adding value through directorate ways such as insurance, financial services and construction”.
Senghore stressed that tourism has a boundless and crucial role while urging participants to give the training due consideration and participate to the fullest so that the contribution of each and every sub sector of tourism will be part of the development of the tourism market in the Gambia.
She said given the dynamic of the tourism industry in the Gambia as a destination will focus its attention and marketing efforts to both regional and international saying that will “create opportunity for the development of planning tourism products as well as attract investment in planning tourism.”
PS Senghore added that government will increase awareness between the industry with regards to Muslim market as well as strengthening Gambia destination to see to it that their doors are open to invite Muslim tourists. “The Gambia will continue to encourage local tourism industry players to venture into investing in Muslim Travel Tourism.”
The two day training was attended by participants drawn from the Gambia, Senegal and Nigeria.