By Lamin Cham
One of the most innovative entity in the African travel industry, Wakanow online travel agency, yesterday formally launched its operations in The Gambia.
The company’s Gambia office is located at the Oasis Apartments at Senegambia, where Gambians can physically visit to directly access its unique and invocative service, or simply log on wakanow.gm, and wakanow.com
Addressing the launching at a beautiful setting inside the plush Kalimba Hotel, Wakanow CEO Adebayo Adedeji said his group is Africa’s foremost tech travel company with an online portal which provides a one -stop service for all the needs of a traveller. “We do not just purchase you airline tickets. We also give you assistance, information and options about flights, hotels, visa assistance, holidays and packages, travel insurance, airport transfer, ferry, bus and train ticketing among other things,” he said.
He informed the gathering of media, tourism, and aviation officials that the coming of Wakanow in The Gambia is designed to harness the potentials of the country in attracting visitors and by extension economic activity, as it will open up Africa to African travellers and bridge the gap that hampered travelling in Africa. ”We are passionate to open up Africa and ease traveling to Africa among Africans and to tell our own stories about the beauty of our African destinations,” Adedeji said. He said The Gambia has attractive tourism products and potentials and Wakanow wants to open up these potentials.
Through its wide connection and good relations with airlines Wakanow even benefits from discounts which it passes on to its customers.
Among its many eye-catching services is the Pay Small Small PSS (instalment payment plan). This works well for the traveller who is planning a trip in the future but does not have enough money to buy it at once. Wakanow will request the traveller to pay a 25 percent deposit and the rest of the ticket cost by instalment. The good thing is that the ticket price will not increase for the traveller because Wakanow will pre-finance the transaction by buying the ticket right away and recover the cost from the traveller on instalments,” Mr Adedeji explained.
The Wakanow CEO announced that the company will bring between 500 to 1000 visitors to The Gambia this year. He said in the past year Wakanow satisfactorily served some 500,000 travellers and intends to double that figure in the coming year.
He said since the formation of the company in 2008, Wakanow has a physical presence in Nigeria (where it is headquartered), Ghana, the seat of its regional office, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Dubai while the US, UK and other West African countries are already lined up.
Mamadi Dampha, representing the ministry of tourism welcome Wakanow to The Gambia at a time when the National Tourism Plan is focusing on attracting tourists from the region especially Nigeria. He said the experience from the 2019 Covid pandemic has meant that tourism stakeholder and governments have begun to encourage tourism from the region, especially Nigeria which has a big market. He concurred and lauded the vision of the Wakanow to work towards making tourism an all year industry and not just six months.
An official of the Gambia Tourism Board, Foday Bah assured the new travel company of a conducive enabling environment and greater collaboration in making Destination Gambia attractive to regional tourism.
Wakanow Country Manager Rohey Sillah thanked the Gambia government and all stakeholders for their hospitality and urged Gambians and other travellers in the country to make use of the company’s unbeatable innovative services.
The launching ceremony was chaired by Sodie Osie-Bonsu, the senior vice president West Africa at Wakanow. In attendance too were Ladi Ojuri CEO of Kalabash, Wakanow’s Finteh services firm, Tinuola Aina, responsible for Growth Lead and Expansion.
Read more on Monday