Home » Africa: Nigerians are Back to Gambia with #banjulbantaba

Africa: Nigerians are Back to Gambia with #banjulbantaba

by Atqnews
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Gambia known as the Smiling Coast was once the hottest Destination for Nigerian Travellers after the launch of Flights by Virgin Nigeria and Arik in 2008.

The push to Popularise the Gambia in Nigeria was anchored around regular Participation at the Akwaaba African Travel market in Lagos by Stakeholders and the Gambia Tourism Board. The former President of the Gambia Sir Dawda Jawara was even at Akwaaba in 2009 and 2010 to further fan the embers of Gambia Tourism in Nigeria.

All that growth disappeared as Gambia stopped its regular Marketing journey to Nigeria and the collapse of Virgin Nigeria Airways. With dwindling Air Access and declining Visibility Most Nigerian Tourism Promoters moved to promoting Other Destinations in East Africa leading to the growth of Rwanda, Kenya, Zanzibar and South Africa.

At the Sidelines of Akwaaba African Travel market in Lagos September 2017 the leading Stakeholders from Gambia including Sheikh Tejan, Abby Sar and Ida Cham asked for an Akwaaba event in Banjul to help draw Attention back to the Gambia. Also at the UNWTO digital training event in Accra Ghana Gambia Tourism Board Director of Sales Adama Njie reinforced the idea leading to the launch of Banjul Bantaba. The beginning of Flights by ASKY and Air Peace to Banjul added to the desirability of the plan.

Akwaaba African Travel market launched its PR campaign in January 2018 with the tagline ‘Lets go to the Gambia ‘ it was promoted across all Media platforms. The idea is to put Gambia back on the minds of People. Atqnews.com ran a weekly banner advert for 4 months to draw attention to the Gambia culminating in the 5 days fam Trip to the Gambia.
Delegates were hosted for 4 days at Kombo Beach Hotel and visited many Resorts and Hotels while there.

The hotel facility Visit started at Senegambia Hotel which is the Oldest and the biggest Hotel inn the Gambia. It is reinventing itself with new pool, New Rooms, New meeting Halls and total refurbishment. Still Gambia’s favourite hangout. Received by the General Manager Buna Njie delegates spent lots of Selfie time at the theme coloured walls of the different sections.

Swiss Boutique hotel is new with 20 rooms. It is the ideal place for a company retreat or Private Birthday party. Amazingly Beautiful. Hosted by the Owner we spent more picture time by the Top floor Balcony.

Coco Ocean is still the most Luxurious of them all. Themed in Arabian Luxury and planned like a getaway Palace its Fluorescent Colours appealed to all Selfie addicts. Hosted to Lunch by the GM the team didn’t want to leave. But leave they have to do. Ngala lodge was deceptive on the Outside. Located in Bakau it looked like a restaurant on the Outside until you went inside. Combining African Art themes steeped in Luxury it is no wonder that it was voted the 4th most Romantic Hotel in Africa. The new block has a Presidential Suite with a view to Die for.

Being on a high ground the wind wreaked havoc to loose hair attachments. The beauty was of the extreme kind. More Selfies more Videos.

Lemon Creek is the best for a long Staying Holiday

Not at the Top Luxury end of the chain we spent a long time after lunch because it feels like home. If you have a group on a budget and staying for a long time this is the place for you if you manage to get a room.

After the wonderful B2B session held at Senegambia Hotels we moved to Sindola Safari Lodge at Kanilai. Located beside the Presidential palace of the former President Yahyah Jammeh Sindola is the ultimate get away. Since the Ouster of the former President the town has been without Excitement and our arrival brought the town back to Life.

Masquerades and Dancers blocked the road to receive us. The former Minister of Tourism Madam Fatou Mas Jobe is now running the place and she pulled out the heights of Hospitality to welcome us. My Favourite dance in West Africa the Djolla dance occupied my attention all through. I didn’t know Men danced also to it. The ladies banged two sticks together and jumped around in a frenzy. Before I discovered the Rwandan Ntore this was my favourite Cultural dance in Africa.

Welcomed with Coconut water and Hibiscus ‘Wonjo’ drinks we settled for Lunch. After feeding the Dishes it was difficult to get us to Leave Sindola back to Banjul.
Of all the Hotels we visited in Banjul the ladies fell head over heels for The Balafon Hotel. Annexed to Djembe Hotel and run by one of West Africa’s biggest Hotel owners Balafon has a unique concept patterned after Thomas Cook lodges. Classy Rondavels with mini swimming pools for each Room. 16 rooms have 16 Private pools. The hotel has a long winding pool that runs round its centre 100 metres long. The owner has recently taken Over Flourish Hotels once Owned by a Nigerian. He is rebuilding the hotel.

He also took us to a new Project that will open in October. Amazing stories coming out of the Gambia.

It is noteworthy that Gambians are taking Control of the Tourism Industry which Hitherto was a European affair.

Our Evenings were spent at Pocoloco lounge. Entertained by a live band and sometimes by DJ Obina we tried out our Naija dance steps. We had a dancing Queen among us. They call her Social Prefect. Our able Guide Mamou was impeccable with his jokes and Narrations. Our shopping expeditions to Bakau art market and the Emporium proves that the Nigerian will always shop until the money finish then you change more.

The Collaboration with the Gambia Hotel Association was reinforced by Marion Nyam the Executive Secretary.

Our photo expeditions took us to Ocean Bay hotel to see where River Gambia meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The ladies choose Kombo Beach Hotel as their favourite beach. I guess the Quadbike had something to do with it.

Gambia is the still the most Value for Money destination for Nigerians and other West African with high quality Hotels at very affordable rates. For about $100- $150 You can enjoy a 5 star holiday a day. The budget hotels are unbelievably affordable at less than $60 a day.

“Gambia will not be complete without my Worshipping at Pastor Forbes Church the Abiding word now known as the Gateway Church by the National Stadium. Though Gambia is predominantly a Muslim Country it is the most religiously liberal Country I have ever visited. I participated in a Religious seminar in 2008 Roots and I said as much then and it is still a peaceful country even after the challenge of the Political impasse when the Former President who lost an Election refused to leave and had to be forced out by ECOWAS soldiers from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana

Take me back to the Gambia. #banjulbantaba

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