Hamat N.K. Bah, the Minister of Tourism and Culture has told visiting students of the Nigerian Defence Academy that in The Gambia, tourism has been identified as one of the eight strategic pillars of the country’s National Development Plan (NDP), since the historic advent of the Government of President Adama Barrow. He highlighted A variety of reasons which include the need to increase the economic benefits of this vital sector in terms of providing opportunities for job creation and wealth generation.
Minister Bah made these remarks during a meeting on Tuesday February 10th 2020, with students of the National Defence College of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The meeting which was centred on the theme: “Tourism and National Development in The Gambia: Prospects and Challenges”, was held at The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute in Kanifing.
The team of students who arrived in The Gambia on Saturday 8th February 2020 are currently on a regional study tour in country to promote participants’ understanding of regional environment as well as broaden their perspective on international politics and how this impacts on the nations visited.
The visiting team comprises of Members of Faculty, Admin staff, and participants of Course 28. They are divided into three categories thus:- personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria; personnel of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Government of Nigeria and participants from Niger, Mali, Rwanda and Zambia. The tour falls under the Regional Study Module which is an important component of the College curriculum.
Minister Bah spoke at length on the significance of the history and development of Tourism in The Gambia and as well highlighted the significance of the sector and its contribution to national GDP.
He disclosed that over five decades, the Smiling Coast has embraced tourism as a strategic pillar of the national economy. As such, he went on, various policies and strategies were put in place in terms of developing the institutional and regulatory framework to ensure a more orderly tourism development and that this entailed the establishment of the Ministry in 1970 and the National Tourism Office later, to spearhead development, regulation and promotion of tourism.
The Tourism and Culture Minister added that the outcome of these policies was positive as evidenced by the rapid growth of the industry with the emergence of trendy stock of hotels to accommodate growing tourist arrivals.
The ceremony was chaired by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Codu Linguere Jabang Senghore.