As the 2007/2008 winter season draws ever closer, the Secretary of State for Tourism and Culture, Hon. Angela Colley, accompanied by the director general of the Gambia Tourism Authority, members of his management team and other tourism stakeholders embarked on a tour of the Tourism Development Area with a view to assessing the state of preparedness of the industry and to dialogue with stakeholders in both the informal and the formal sectors in the industry.
The tour, which commenced on Wednesday 3rd October, was very interactive; the SoS visited the Bakau and Sunwing craft markets to assess the facilities and products in the markets. Hon. Colley had a good interactive session with stall owners who were mainly women and youths. They expressed delight in the visit and used the opportunity to express their constraints. The SoS highlighted the significance of product diversification and the need for the craft vendors to maintain high standards in their dealings with tourists.
The tour continued on Friday 5th October when the tourism Secy visited the Senegambia and Bungalow Beach (BB) craft markets. On Monday, she concluded visiting the craft markets by touring Wadner and Fajara craft markets.
On October 12th, the SoS will hold a crucial meeting with hotel managers and tour operators. This will be followed by a session with all beach bar owners on the 16th October. On the 17th October SoS Angela Colley will meet the official tourist guides. The final segment of her tour will be on the 19th October when she would meet the Tourism Security Unit, TSU, at their office in Senegambia.
The secretary of state is looking forward to a good winter season and wanted to see for herself the state of readiness on the ground from the viewpoint of all the various tourism stakeholder groups. It is hoped that it will enable constraints to be identified as well as good ideas adopted all with a view to ensuring visitors this season have unforgettable holidays in The Gambia.