The Gambia is a beautiful destination revered for its peaceful disposition, beautiful beaches, fine hotels, resorts, and wonderful climate.
In this interview with Franklin Ihejirika at the recently concluded Akwaaba Africa Travel Market in Lagos, Ida jeng Njie, the director of tourism international of Gambian Tourism Board speaks on the importance of the Nigerian market to the Gambia, why the Gambia is the best destination to visit, business opportunities in the country and plans to increase the arrivals from Nigeria to the Gambia, among others.
The Gambia is intensifying her marketing effort in Nigeria and the sub region using Akwaaba as a launch pad, what informed this move?
We are intensifying our efforts in the sub region and Nigeria in particular because we the Gambians need the Nigeria market. More so, Nigerians are high spenders, who would not like to attract high spenders.
We have re-stategised and said we need to intensify our efforts in the sub region, in Nigeria in particular.
Why do you think the Gambia is a must visit destination for tourists?
Because we have all it takes to make a holiday very successful for every one.
The Gambians are tolerant, we are very tolerant people, The Gambians are very hospitable, Gambians are very nice, who would not like to go to a country that has tolerance, who would like to go to a country that he would be liked, despite the tolerance, Gambians is a very safe and peaceful country. I would say Gambia is the most peaceful country in Africa and by extension the world.
Gambia has the products for the Nigerians, Gambia has the product for the Africans and Europeans, but right now we are talking about Africa because we are in Africa. Gambia has re-strategised to ensure that we attract not only Nigerians, but Africans as a whole. But why wouldn’t you come to the Gambia, because we have peace, stability, tolerance and the product is ripe and the weather is beautiful.The Gambia is the ideal holiday destination for every one
How affordable is the Gambia as a destination compared to Senegal, Ghana, others and what is the connectivity like?
Gambia stands out in the sense that it gives you value for your money compared to the countries that you have just named, because we are all Africans. But we are unique, unique in the sense that it is affordable, if you look behind me, you will see we have the aviation people, we have Air Peace connecting to The Gambia. The Airline fly to The Gambia every day, so when it comes to connectivity, we have it, there is a daily flight from Nigeria to The Gambia for a while ago with affordable price. That is why we are here to tell you that all these things are happening and maybe you are not aware and that is why we are here to ensure everybody knows what Gambia has to offer, how to get there and its value for money.
The 39 percent arrival figure from Nigeria, are you aiming to maintain that figure or surpass it?
We are trying to surpass that figure, hence the reason we are intensifying our marketing efforts in this Nigerian market. We are not only here in Akwaaba, we would be doing other activities like fam trips, we had one this year and we would be having another in March. We are working with the organisers of Akwaaba to do a Bantaba in the Gambia. Bantanba means let’s dialogue, so we get Nigerians to the Gambia for them to come so that we dialogue. So we need people like you, the media to come because you will tell people of the world what you have experienced, so we believed that the taste of the pudding is in the eating.
You need to experience it because we use people to send the message, if you don’t experience it, you would not be able to sell it, that is why we are intensifying our effort in seeing the importance of the media to carry our message across. You cannot just put it in the Newspaper, because the taste of the pudding is in the eating, let the media come experience it, enjoy the product and spread the message.
what are the business opportunities in the Gambia?
There are lots of business opportunities in the Gambia, to the extent that we have lots of incentives for people that want to invest. Our investment portfolio is so good that you don’t have to be a Gambian to invest sorely in the Gambia. Somebody from elsewhere can invest, Nigerians can come so long as they follow the guidelines. You can even invest without a Gambian partner and I think that is too unique for the Gambia within the West African sub region to have that.