Tourism figures are beginning to look up for West African country of the Gambia as one forty-seven (147), tourists from the United Kingdom arrived the Banjul International Airport Wednesday with the Gambia Experience maiden flight.
According to voicegambia.com, the memorable day was termed as ‘storm is over’ by some of the stakeholders and tourists onboard the flight that had almost lost hope for the season as the coronavirus pandemic continue surging throughout the world especially Europe, one of the destination Gambia’s source markets.
The Gambia Experience, over the years, is one of the most regular and leading flights that operates all year round in The Gambia. Prior the outbreak of the Coronavirus (in last winter season), The Gambia Experience secured additional flying between the UK and Banjul to support Gambian tourism following the collapse of Thomas Cook UK.
Receiving the flight together with the onboard tourists at the Banjul International Airport on behalf of the Director General of Gambia Tourism Board was Ousman Kebbeh accompanied by senior staff of the board, top managers from Discovery Tours, official of the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, health personnel at the airport among others.
Addressing members of travel and tour reporters shortly after the arrival, Ousman Kebbeh was upbeat about the arrival as GTBoard and the country at large want to have the usual fruitful season.
Despite the recent surge of Covid-19 across Europe, he noted that the Board is still hopeful taking into consideration the international body regulations which states that every passenger must be tested and be Covid-19 negative.
In addition to that, he said working with the Ministry of Health in the Gambia is another plus as far as controlling and preventing the spread of the virus in the country is concerned.
Thanked Discovery Tours for the arrival of the tourists and collaboration.
The Manager of Discovery Tours an agent of The Gambia Experience, Oumie Sise, has described the arrival as unprecedented taken into consideration that the maiden flight is received in the Month of December instead of October.
She noted that the late arrival is due to the coronavirus pandemic which has every transaction across the world.
Madam Sise therefore expressed delight over the arrival of the flight which has been expected by many, a sign that “there is improvement though it is a small start.”
She noted that Discovery Tours provides representation for the Gambia experience “and it is The Gambia Experience first flight of the season not to only Discovery Tours but to the country as a whole.”
Despite the restriction and lockdown in Europe, She noted that gradually the number of the arrival will improve as time goes on, “especially now that a vaccine for the virus is been discovered and already tested in UK and this will increase the confidence of travellers.”
Foday Bah, e-marketing manager of the GTBoard representing director of marketing dilated on the series of the board marketing strategies in place for the season.
He disclosed that they already have in place post covid-19 plan on how to promote the destination especially now that domestic and regional tourism is at the forefront.
Speaking about Covid-19, “It is safer here in destination Gambia (Smiling Coast of Africa) than in Europe. This is because it is it is serious over there right now, everything is out of hand, unemployment is high and people have been in the house for several months. It is quite traumatic,” a tourist explained.