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Tourism officials receive 2015/16 winter tourist season’s maiden flight

02 Nov 2015

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC), The Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) together with other tourism stakeholders on Friday, September 18th 2015, welcomed the arrival of the maiden flight of the 2015/16 tourist season at the Banjul International Airport with 154 tourists onboardCorendon Airlines flight number CND511 from Holland.

Speaking to the press after the arrival, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Tourism KoduJabang-Senghore, said last year was full of challenges to the tourism sector and the country but with the efforts put in place to extend the tourist season one month earlier before the actual opening of the season is paying dividend.

DPS Jabang-Senghore added that last season, the industry witnessed lots of flight cancelation due to the Ebola crisis. But this year looks promising; the arrival of Corendon is the beginning of a great season ahead. ?The outlook is quite optimistic; it?s going to be a great season.?

Asked about the challenges in the sector she said the Ministry of Tourism and Culture has developed a strategic document to counter those challenges and help to accomplish the Vision 2020 aspiration of half a million visitors. She thanked the GTBoard and its stakeholders for the good job, especially their collaboration during the Ebola out break.

Also present at the foot of the maiden flight was AbdoulieHydara, director general of The Gambia Tourism Board. He thanked the staffs of the GTBoard for their support and a special thank to His Excellency, the President of The Republic of The Gambia for his support to the tourism industry by providing the country the enabling environment in promoting tourism. On air arrival for the season, he said in his words ?We are expecting a minimum of 24 flights per week which is very impressive, and if it were not for the Ebola last year we would have had a very good season.? He thanked the minister of Tourism and Culture, the chairman Board of Directors, staff of GTBoard and the entire tourism stakeholders for their tremendous supports.

For his part, Adama Njie, director of marketing -GTBoard said the Board will continue to engage in joint marketing activities, engage in road shows and continue to work with PR firms with more focus on E-Marketing to push the arrival numbers and raising the awareness of Destination Gambia worldwide.

Among other activities, he disclosed that there is an international fishing competition coming in November this year, the food and beverage festival in February and the first ever International Birds Festival to be held next year in October which will be the first of its kind in Africa. He added that GTBoard has lots of products to offer Tourist to compliment the efforts of marketing the destination.

Deputising for the managing director, Gambia International Airlines, Lamin Cham commercial director GIA said the number of flights expected is very encouraging and the GIA is the first point of call. ?Therefore, GIA will make sure tourist coming to The Gambia will have a memory experience of visiting the country, by providing excellent services at the airport. It is a general believe that first impressions last longer, so being the first point of contact GIA will make sure that their services is always executed at international standard,? he said, while assuring GIA?s readiness for the new season.

Other speakers included Baba Ceesay, director of National Centre for Arts and Culture, chairman Gambia Hotel Association and Captain Modou J. Manneh, Officer Commanding the Tourism Security Unit (TSU).

The maiden flight was also welcomed with traditional cultural dancing and drumming with a full police escort for the tourists to their various hotels.

Article by: MamouSuwanneh, Intern at Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard)

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