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Gambia: Outgoing Tourism And Culture Minister Outlines Achievements

By: Yunus S. Saliu

The former Minister for Tourism and Culture, Hounourable Hamat N.K. Bah has outlined the achievements registered under his watch while welcoming his successor Abdoulie Jobe.

At an organized event held at Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, Minister Bah bade farewell and welcomed onboard the newly appointed Minister for Tourism and Culture, Honourable Abdoulie Jobe.

Hon Bah, who is now redeployed to the Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs used the event to dilate on his achievements in office and also made some clarifications about some matters regarding issues of petitions written to the National Assembly, the report of the National Assembly and some online publications.

In brief, he said since the operation of the GTBoard many years ago, under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the GTBoard was able to get its own state-of-the-art building built around the TDA. He added that the number of annual arrivals had increased massively to over 200,000 tourists by air alone before the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“And when COVID-19 came, we went down to 90,000 but we crawled back and as one of the fastest growing recovery countries of tourist arrivals in the sub-region after the pandemic.”

He noted that a more aggressive marketing strategy was put in place to promote the country to attract more tourists and investors, and further staff training was not limited to only GTBoard staff but across the Ministry and the rest of the institutions.

He revealed that the PR Firm was revamped and given back to Gambian citizens. This is “because no one knows the Gambia better than Gambians. This gave us a good opportunity to promote the country well and they have done extremely well in this.”

Among other achievements under product development, he said, are 12 new hotels under construction and they are about to be completed, the beds have increased considerably in the country since 2017 to date.

He also underlined other achievements at the GTHI including the establishment of a research unit with the task of developing international recipes using local ingredients, and staff capacity building.

“In 2017, as a new government, we met the GTBoard taking overdraft and it was difficult for them and this government took the initiative of showing commitment and participation in the process of the industry,” he disclosed.

He argued that under his administration, the GTHI was also able to develop a curriculum in Agri-food processing, train 200 youth in agri-food processing in rural Gambia, and construct an Agri-food processing center with modern workshops, laboratories, sanitization rooms, and stores with support from GIZ to encourage linkages between tourism and agriculture.

Highlighting the achievements of the National Centre for Arts and Culture under his administration, he said the center was able to strengthen the legal and administrative framework of the sector, the country was able to have two UNESCO Conventions; the 2001 and 1970 conventions ratified; completion of the first inventory of heritage and monuments in Banjul with an accompanied management plan for the inventory; digitization of the NCAC Research and Documentation Division Oral Archive of the Gambia and lots more.

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Yunus S Saliu

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