As Destination Gambia almost completes its final decision to resume the tourism session in October for the winter tourism season 2020/2021, the minister of Tourism and Culture has disclosed among other plans to give seed money to young Gambians to create travelling companies.
Answering questions on some issues regarding the industry, Minister Hamat N.K. Bah in an interview disclosed among other things that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is reforming the Gambia Tourism Board as well as mulling on giving seed money to young Gambians to be self-employed.
“One of the things we are doing is the reform of GTBoard and also thinking of the need to sponsor and give seed money to young Gambians to create travelling companies,” Minister Bah disclosed.
Breaking it down, he said the travelling companies will enable youth and other Gambians get involved in organising tours, excursions, visit upcountry, visiting sites and other places of attractions in the country. “Purposefully it is for job creation and promoting domestic tourism in the country as you have in other countries,” he explained.
He further points out that the industry needs such services but the obstacle remains that “people don’t have the money, though they might have the idea, the capital is not there,” he opined.
As a government, he said his ministry in conjunction with the Gambia Tourism Board is thinking of how qualified and interested young Gambians can be supported to form such companies “to enable them partake fully in developing the sector.”
According to the minister, it is one of the top priorities of the government at the moment as it will help to promote the sector.
However, in spite of the increase number of coronavirus cases in the country, stakeholders including beneficiaries in the industry are calling on government to resume the tourism sector which has been shut down since 23 March 2020 following the Gambian government’s announcement of the closure of all its borders and also airspace from all flights except for medical cargo flights to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.