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Over 60 Potential Tourism Sites Discovered Across The Gambia

By Yunus S Saliu

In Phase B of the Tourism Diversification and Resilience Project in The Gambia, several sixty-four tourism sites in different locations across The Gambia were visited and listed for review, while the report and ten of these potential sites were delineated and validated. These ten delineated potential sites will be developed and upgraded.

The Tourism Diversification and Resilience Project is a World Bank-funded project meant to evaluate and prioritize a long list of potential tourism sites across The Gambia. And, also to develop proposals for the planning, development, and upgrading of a short list of 1o sites and provide an implementation framework for these proposals.

However, presenting, reviewing, and validating the report of this demand and destination assessment of these tourism sites throughout the country on Wednesday, 15th May 2024 in a forum held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre in Bijilo, Madam Isatou Drammeh, the Deputy Permanent Secretary presided over the opening of the forum on behalf of Ma’am Cordu L Jabang-Senghore, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC).

In her address, Ma’am Isatou Drammeh expressed that the gathering signified the culmination of months of dedicated work and collaborative endeavor aimed at evaluating and prioritizing potential tourism sites across the nation.

“This endeavor, funded by the World Bank through the Tourism Diversification and Resilience in The Gambia project, underscores our commitment to fostering sustainable growth and development within the tourism industry,” she expressed.

The journey to the validation, she noted, commenced with the formidable task of navigating through a vast array of over 60 potential tourism sites scattered throughout The Gambia, “guided by a clear mission to identify and prioritize locations with the greatest potential for development, the consultants embarked on a meticulous evaluation process, leaving no stone unturned in a quest to fully document the hidden potential of the tangible assets of our nation.”

On validation of the ten potential sites, she said it is imperative to recognize that these ten locations are not merely destinations unto themselves but serve as catalysts for broader regional development and collaboration.

On a final note, the Deputy Permanent Secretary urged everyone to reaffirm their unwavering commitment to unlocking the full potential of The Gambia’s tourism sector – “a sector that not only enriches the lives of its people but also serves as a beacon, showcasing the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and boundless hospitality of our remarkable nation.”

Momodou Ceesay, the TDRGP Project Director described the demand and destination sites evaluation and assessment of potential tourism sites across the country as a milestone study. He noted that the exercise of this evaluation started way back during the Covid-19 in 2021 when the World Bank in collaboration with the government of the Gambia established a public-private dialogue mechanism to devise an action plan for Covid-19 tourism recovery.

During that period in 2021, a short list of 12 sites was presented but during the Tourism Diversification and Resilience in The Gambia Project the sites were later extended and expanded to over 50 sites and they formed part of the final TOR when they were selecting a firm to carry out the evaluation.
Dr. Adama Bah, Representative of Keios Development Consulting in the Gambia expressed their delight in the project saying they were able to meet all the requirements of them as per the terms of reference.
Dr Bah described this as a great experience especially since diversification has always been a topic in The Gambia though without a proper and in-depth study of this nature, “it cannot be achieved.”

He, therefore, applauded all the teams, the focal persons, the funding partners, and other stakeholders who have participated in the project realization.

Mr. Kebba Njie, executive secretary of TTAG thanked the consultant and said this will help them market Destination Gambia as a preferred tourism destination. In an extension, he thanked the Ministry for supporting the project. He said they would accept the recommendation of the report as outlined by the consultant.

Brief Excerpt from Report

The purpose of Phase B of the Tourism Diversification and Resilience Project in The Gambia has been to conduct a comprehensive assessment and prioritization of potential tourism destinations in The Gambia and has involved desk research, creation of a Geographic Information System (GIS), GIS spatial analysis, development of an evaluation methodology, stakeholder consultations and site evaluations, culminating in the Destination Assessment Long List Report.

However, according to the Demand and Destination Assessment of Tourism Sites Throughout The Country Destination Assessment Long List report, “by 2030, the Gambia with its unique flora and fauna, the majestic River Gambia and the exceptional tolerance and hospitality of its people, is a prime destination of choice for an environmentally friendly, sustainable, and responsible tourism that encompasses valued experiences of natural and cultural heritage, wellness, quality products and services.”

Presenting the highly welcome Demand and Destination Assessment of Tourism Sites Throughout The Country Destination – Destination Report Long List through webinar the team leader, Simon Woodward, the team leader, presented and expatiated on the assessment, methodology, and rating of the sites.

The proposed shortlist ten which had most potential for development that will help to consolidate existing markets and assist the destination to diversify into new, higher-value forms of niche tourism included Kiang West National Park, Historic Georgetown, Denton Bridge, Wassu Stone Circles, Kotu Craft Market, Bintang Bolong Tributary, Albreda and Juffureh, Fort Bullen, Basse Men’s Weaving Site, Kenye Kenye Jamengo Holy Site.

On the distribution of the sites across the thematic bands, under UNESCO World Heritage Sites are Albreda and Juffureh, Fort Bullen, Wassu Stone Circles, Wassu Stone Circles – the Quarry – on the Tentative List, and Historic Georgetown – on the Tentative List.

Under Sites of Historical Significance, there is the Fort Bullen Regional Museum, Kankurang Museum, King Musa Molloh Tomb, and Wassu Stone Circles Museum.

Sites of Cultural Significance include Kenye Kenye Jamengo Holy Site, while they have under Parks and Wildlife the Kiang West National Park, and Kunkilling Forest Park.

Water Sports, Rivers, Tributaries, and Wetlands are Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, Bintang Bolong Tributary, Denton Bridge, Pottery and Craft Markets including Allunhari Pottery Site, Basse Men’s Weaving Site, and Kotu Craft Market.


Yunus S Saliu

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