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Nigerian Tourism Doyen Speaks About Uniqueness of Destination Gambia At WTM

By Yunus S Saliu

As the World Travel Market 2023 taking place in Excel London reached its climax, a Nigerian travel and tour organizer and staunch promoter of destination Gambia spoke about the yet-to-discovered uniqueness of Destination Gambia.

Mr. Ikechi Uko, the organizer of the annual Akwaaba Travel Market (ATQ) and Gambia tourism promoter in Nigeria indicated that there is something unique about the Gambia experience that goes beyond the 3s and the hotels in The Gambia which nobody can still explain.

Commenting about the uniqueness of the Gambia, he said “For the past ten years I have been asking what makes the Gambia a unique destination. No one can answer the question because Nigerians like going to where to do shopping but The Gambia is not known as a shopping destination, so there is a unique connection that Gambia has. When I started introducing the country to Nigerians I kept telling people that the destination is a product that once you sample it you will want more.”

However, “I am happy that the interest in the Gambia is still there but all it needs to be done is to reinforce and grow it.”

Meanwhile, for most of the African countries, he noted that WTM is one of the most available summits that offers the opportunity for them to participate in the world game.

He expressed that Africans need to meet the world and sell Africa as a product “because they don’t know more about our products.”

WTM, this year, according to him is better for African countries as they bring Africa to the centre rather than hiding them in a corner like in the past. “Therefore African countries should take advantage of this World Travel Market it is one of the biggest opportunities to sell African countries and the continent as a whole.”

Mr. Uko however expressed satisfaction about seeing more African countries taking advantage of the WTM and Gambia not lagging, which is one of the biggest opportunities for individual countries.

However, he stated that the Nigerian market is exploding, and tour operators are becoming much more adventurous looking for new destinations to promote and sell.

“And the Gambia has an opportunity to get sustainable numbers from Nigeria by starting now and never stopping because it has to be a continuous process,” he added.

World Travel Market in its 17th year is a “place for people who refuse to return to the status quo and it is the world’s most influential travel and tourism event.”

The world second largest summit kicked off on Monday, the 6th, and will end by Wednesday 8th of November 2023, it is currently attended by over 180 destinations and more than 3000 exhibitors participating from all over the world.

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