The new national tourism policy will provide a policy framework for the sustainable tourism industry –

By Yunus S Saliu

Much time has passed and it is necessary to revise the old national tourism policy, responsible tourism policy, tourism, culture and hospitality strategy “in order to provide the Ministry of Tourism and Culture an updated policy framework and strategy for sustainable development industry development.

The Minister of Tourism and Culture on Monday assured stakeholders at the launch of the review / development of The Gambia’s National Tourism Policy and Strategy held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba International Conference Center located in the Senegambia strip.

Hon. Hamat NK Bah added that the NTPS review will also realign tourism to the general goals and objectives of the government’s new master plan – the National Development Plan. “An opportunity to make all the one-off and various initiatives in the sector consistent,” he said.

In his speech officially launching the process of revising the national tourism and culture policy and strategy, he revealed that the last such framework expired in 2000 “two decades ago”.

As such, he confirmed “between 2000 and the exodus of the old administration, there was no updated, hard and fast tourism policy or strategy that guided the operations of this vital sector of the economy “.

The minister said the policy and strategy review came at a critical time, with the sector reeling from the negative socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen devastated economies around the world , including The Gambia where the tourism sector has been particularly affected. .

“Despite the crisis, and through our collective efforts, we also have a unique opportunity to rethink and propose a policy framework that will reposition the sector not only to address short-term measures to get us out of the current crisis,” said the honorable disclosed.

As everyone knows, The Gambian tourism industry plays a vital role in the economy, prosperity and growth of the country “in fact, by promoting inclusive and culture-centered tourism which is the 5e strategic priority of our NDP 2018-2021.

Minister Bah highlighted the impact of Covid-19 while taking the opportunity of the launch to highlight the various policies and other measures taken by the government led by President Adama Barrow to deal with the crisis.

These measures include “economic support, political adjustments, partnerships and collaboration with our development partners and investors”, underlined the Minister of Tourism and Culture.

Currently, he said they are working closely with their development partners – the World Bank to develop short-term measures to address the challenges of the recovery and this ongoing work will clearly feed into the review of the policy framework.

He added that besides the need to provide a way out of the current crisis, there is an urgent need for the ministry to articulate a comprehensive tourism policy framework and that The Gambia, under the able leadership of His Excellency the President, has formulated a new means – long term development strategy – NPD.

In her welcome speech, Madame Cordu L Jabang-Senghore, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, said that tourism has become one of the successes of national development efforts and a major engine of the economy and that it Not only contributes immensely to job creation “but also overall wealth generation for national development.”

Without a doubt, she said, the tourism sector has grown in importance in terms of programs and investments. “Yet over the years it has not been managed and developed in accordance with a clear policy and strategy, even though a tourism policy was in place from 1995 to 2000.”

PS Jabang-Senghore revealed that Gambian tourism must necessarily undergo an unprecedented paradigm shift to better serve the country. “A transformation of approach anchored and driven by a dedicated policy which promotes the integrated management of tourism and, in this way, promotes sustainable development”, she added.

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