Minister of Tourism Hamat Bah on Saturday signed an agreement with a U.S. based consulting firm in what would be a mega boost for the tourism industry.
Bah signed the MOU with FTI Consulting in a new effort to build two five-star hotels and train at least 900 Gambians on tourism – a critical economic sector for the Gambia.
The tourism sector is one of the country’s main revenue generators, contributing 20 percent of its budget. It also employs thousands of people.
It has suffered a dint after the Ebola crisis hit the West African region. Gambia had no cases of Ebola but tourist stayed away from the country.
The business started picking up last year but the refusal of former President Yahya Jammeh to step aside sent thousands of tourist fleeing, fearing the country was going to slip into conflict.
The country’s tourism board says that the worst of the storm has passed and they expect record numbers of visitors now that there is a new government.
Bah said the country is seeing improvement in tourism with an unprecedented number of 200,000 tourists expected to spend their winter vacations in the Gambia.
February and March are typically the high seasons for tourism in this tiny sun-soaked West African country, as European tourists flee the cold winters of the northern hemisphere. But that changed when the elections were scheduled for December.
The Gambia is mainland Africa’s smallest country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline. It’s known for its diverse ecosystems around the Gambia River and has sunshine through the year.