Spain high on The Gambia’s tourism radar

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Picture: Director General of Gambia Tourist Board, Abubakar Camara

The Gambia is making inroads to capture Spain as a key source market for its international tourist arrivals.

The West African country was in Spain in January this year to showcase its tourism offering and products to the mostly Latin American and European markets at the Fitur International Tourism Fair.

The Director General of Gambia Tourist Board, Abubakar Camara in an interview with VoyagesAfriq revealed that Spain was of particular interest because it is almost becoming the country’s second biggest source market.

“We are doing very well in Spain even though we have only one flight going in. If you look at the destination Spain, it’s the third largest market as far as we are concerned. However, as we speak, it looks like it is competing with Holland which is the second largest source market for the Gambia, and it is competing very well. If we have more flights, I’m sure we would do very well in Spain, he said.

To maximize the opportunity presented by the Spanish market, the Director General added that the Gambia has already initiated several strategies to increase its visibility and arouse interest among prospective visitors and tourists.

He disclosed: We’ve already appointed a destination manager which we call a Director of Tourism Promotion, and we are even trying to provide him with an assistant who is going to make sure that they work together and breakthrough a lot of barriers that were there in terms of bringing tourists to Gambia

“Again, we are involving the Gambian embassy in Spain to mobilise all the diasporan Gambians who are staying here so that they organize events. There is nobody who can market Gambia other than the Gambians themselves. So those who are living here need to be mobilized and encouraged to sell the Gambia.”

Camara also reiterated the country’s ongoing talks with airlines to resume flights between Spain and Gambia, saying, “The only bottleneck we have is the air connectivity which we are working on, and I believe at some point, we will breakthrough.

The Gambia offers visa-on-arrival for tourists and has revised health protocols to exempt visitors from any form of COVID-19 tests or present any proof of vaccination.

The ‘Smiling Coast of Africa’ is welcoming to tourists all year round and is undergoing diversification of its tourism products to add to the beach tourism its known for.

Director General Camara said the variation is much needed to meet the changing demands of tourists.

“We’ve already started diversifying our tourism because we believe that tourism is moving and as times goes on and people’s plans keep changing, we also must diversify our products. We are selling eco-tourism, river-based tourism, and community-based tourism, and we are also selling food tourism. So, we recognise that people’s demands are changing, and we are also changing to meet these demands,” he emphasised.

This Article was first published in issue 023 of the VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine

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