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Stakeholders Discuss Assessment Of River Jetties, Tourism Capacities And Development Options

By Yunus S Saliu

In its quest for charting a pivotal course toward a more competitive, inclusive, and resilient tourism sector in The Gambia, the Tourism Diversification and Resilience of The Gambia Project (TDRGP), and relevant stakeholders last Thursday held a daylong forum to discuss the assessment of River Jetties across The Gambia, their tourism capacity and development options.

The forum that was held at Lemon Creek Hotel was attended by relevant stakeholders from different sectors, and members of site communities, also present were the consultants – Royal Haskoning DHV and CityScapes among others.

Speaking on behalf of Cordu L Jabang Senghore, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC) was Momodou Ceesay, the Project Director of the TDRGP.

Mr Ceesay said it is imperative to underscore the critical role that tourism is playing in the economic fabric of The Gambia.

He underscored the importance of the natural assets, saying The Gambia possesses the River Gambia, which runs the entire length of the country and beyond into the highlands of Guinea.

He explained this river and surrounding land provide a rich diversity of natural habitats, offering a variety of existing tourist locations and experiences, many based on immersive eco-tourism, but also offering a wealth of possible tourism enhancement opportunities.

“The River Gambia, with its rich biodiversity and cultural heritage, presents a golden opportunity to expand and diversify our tourism sector,” he stated while adding that by developing infrastructure along the river, we can attract tourists to inland areas offering them unique experiences such as bird watching, dolphin spotting at the mouth of the ocean, and exploration of cultural heritage sites.

Therefore, this strategic shift not only broadens the scope of tourism in The Gambia but also mitigates the risks associated with over-reliance on beach tourism, he added.

The project Director, however, noted that the river itself is currently used to some extent as a transport link, but this is limited due to the lack of suitable landing sites and supporting access and infrastructure surrounding the landing points.

Moving on, he said TDRGP aimed to develop a more competitive, inclusive, and resilient tourism sector by enhancing access to the interior of The Gambia through improvements in the transport potential of the River Gambia. “To achieve these objectives, the project will be executed in three phases, spanning approximately 11 months. From the inception phase, where key stakeholders are engaged to define the scope and assessment criteria, to the assessment phase, where crucial data is gathered to formulate potential solutions, and finally, to the results phase,” Mr Ceesay breaks down the process.

Taking the podium to address the gathering at the opening were officials of the consultants followed by different presentations, discussions, and group work.

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