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Tourism and Culture Ministry Calls For better Coordination Of Events, Festivals

By Yunus S Saliu

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC) has called for better coordination of events and festivals in the country noting that some organized events and festivals fall on the same dates and show the same culture or traditions.

PS Cordu L Jabang-Senghore speaking on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture (MOTC) at the official opening ceremony of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) national capacity building workshop organized for festival and event organizers sponsored by the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) noted that “This clash of calendars and ubiquity can easily be a drawback because when events clash, the audiences are split which does not favour good attendance.”

The role of the arts and culture in the valorization of The Gambia tourism sector is indeed beyond doubt, she stated.

She lauded the organized workshop, saying it is needed to make the country’s rich cultural heritage offer value for money to the visitors of “Our country. This is what an event like this seeks to unearth and actuate.”

The MOTC PS noted that all the position papers, studies, reports, forecasts, and even the current YIRIWA Development Plan 2023-2027 call for a culture-based tourism experience for The Gambia.

Among other issues, Ma’am Senghore-Jabang said the sea, sun, and sand are old attractions that can no longer be sustained due to the challenges posed by among other things, “climate change induced coastline loss, and the capricious weathers that hit our tourist’s source markets.”

Therefore, she disclosed, “It is the earnest desire of the government of His Excellency President Adama Barrow to strengthen a culture-based tourism experience for The Gambia.”

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, she disclosed further, “is pleased to see such positive collaboration among the Gambia Tourism Board and NCAC and you the festival and event organisers to see how best to improve on your cultural activities such that they will enhance our cultural identity, conserve culture and also become tourism attractions and products.”

However, she went on, that in the past seven years, there has been a rapid increase in community, thematic, and urban festivals across the country. “Indeed, now more than ever Gambians are eager to assert their cultural rights through expressing culture in festivals and events.”

More so, she opined that festivals should show authentic culture and this can be done through background research so that what you showcase will truly reflect the essence of the festival/event.

Notwithstanding, she reminded them that NCAC has dutifully elaborated with UNESCO support and which seeks to create a Fund to support artistic and cultural programs.

Noting that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture will take it for Cabinet consideration so that “We can have a systematic, sustainable and inclusive funding scheme for the sector.”

Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) welcomed and thanked the sister institution, Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) for the support while encouraging the festival/event organizers to make use of the good opportunity open to them. In an extension, he applaud the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for its continuous support and guidance.

Musa Dem, Packaging Manager and PRO of the Gambia Tourism Board speaking on behalf of Aboubacarr S Camara, Director General of the GTBoard applauded the center for a well-organized training. He dilated on more activities and support the board had for the industry.


Yunus S Saliu

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