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 Tourism: General
 Yes please ! All year Gambia.
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toubab1020



9542 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2012 :  17:07:28  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message
Great idea, where do I sign


http://www.foroyaa.gm/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9528

Snippet;
By Alhagi F.S. Sora
"The official tourist season has now been declared closed since the 15 of April, the various industry operators who depend on tourism for a livelihood are calling on the authorities to develop a national plan that would make tourism an all year round activity. According to these people in the hospitality industry........................

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

kobo



United Kingdom
7765 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2012 :  17:28:43  Show Profile Send kobo a Private Message


By By Alhagi F.S. Sora

"The official tourist season has now been declared closed since the 15 of April, the various industry operators who depend on tourism for a livelihood are calling on the authorities to develop a national plan that would make tourism an all year round activity. According to these people in the hospitality industry, who include hotel workers, craft persons, drivers, bar and restaurant owners, tourist guides and private security personnel, the six months tourist season poses difficulties for them in terms of earning incomes to sustain their families during the off-season which also lasts for six months. They explained that during this long period they are either laid off from work or are out of business and have to sit down without any means of livelihood.

Visiting the hotel industry, this reporter spoke to one Dawda Faal, a Wood Carver at the Senegambia Craft Market, who explained that the form of artwork he produces promotes our cultural heritage as it depicts the African way of life and exposes it to people of other cultures such as the tourists. He said the tourism has seen better days before when there were lots of tourists visiting the Gambia and were benefiting everyone in the industry. He said unlike those previous years, the industry now offers very little benefits especially to the traders in the craft markets. He said apart from the short duration and the reduced number in arrivals; a problem that is affecting them seriously is the shops that are opened in the hotels which are selling the same products as they offer to tourists. He lamented that this situation is restricting tourists from coming out of the hotels for shopping so as to buy the products that are sold there. This, he added, is really affecting their sales as they would stay the whole day without seeing a single tourist coming to buy at their stalls in the craft market. “Despite all this, we are required to pay taxes and rental of the stalls, pay school fees, accommodation and the general upkeep of our families,” he said.

“How do you expect us to survive in this situation?” he asked.
Ensa Gaye, who sells Cowry Shells, Awa Saho and Fatou Gaye, dealers in African Tie-Dye and Batik costumes, as well as Ousman Jabbi and Burama Jallow, producers of leather products, have all elaborated on the numerous challenges facing them as economic operators in the tourist industry. They are calling on the authorities, particularly the Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) to assist them in addressing these challenges that are threatening their businesses. They said GTB should evolve marketing strategies that will bring more tourists and other regulatory mechanisms that ensures understanding among the various operators such the traders at the craft markets and the tourist guides.

Visiting the beach, this reporter met with some young people who are engaged in the production of fresh fruit juice for the tourists sometimes called ‘Juice Pressers. These young men establish tables under big umbrellas on the beach front where they use a manual pressing machine to squeeze local fresh fruits into juice. Talking to Pa Manneh and Dembo Bojang, both Juice Pressers, they said they have license to operate this business on the beach. They complained about the problems they have with some of those in the hotels who, they claim, dissuade tourists from coming to patronize them. They said they are responsible people who are engaged in this type of a job because of unemployment and in order for them to earn a living and to support their dependents.

Yasmina, a Canadian national and the proprietor of a Bar and Restaurant at the main entrance of Senegambia Beach Hotel, said she has prepared a very small quantity of food because of the fear of not getting enough customers to eat it. She said she has heard that the GTB is working very hard to introduce an all year round tourist season and prayed that it materializes. She explained that business is very tough for them nowadays with the few tourists, adding that if the trend is not reversed it would be very difficult for some of their businesses to survive.

Talking to Mr. Ousu Camara, Secretary of the official Tourist Guides Association at their office at Kairaba Beach Hotel, he said their organization was formed in 1997 to guide tourists lodging at the Kairaba and Senegambia Beach hotels. He said their work is to guide the tourists outside the hotel to move about to the various centers of attraction and on their shopping outings.

On how they operate, he said their members are engaged by turns to accompany the tourists who are going out of the hotel to destinations in town or elsewhere.

He said they would want to appeal to GTB to consider extending the operations of the official tourist guides to cover other hotels outside the Senegambia area to enable all their members to be engaged at all times.

He disclosed that they have recently met with the manager of Sheraton Hotel concerning employment as trained guides and have received a positive response.

Concluding, he expressed his hope for other hotels to consider engaging the official tourist guides.

Terema Camara, one of those young people who are engaged as unofficial guides or professional friends with tourists and locally called ‘Bumsters’, decried the mistreatment they suffer at the hands of the security in the Tourism Development Area (TDA). He said it is not dignified for them to be running after the tourists but added that because there are no jobs, they are compelled to seek friendship with them in order to earn their means of survival. He claimed that the security often chase them when they are seen around the hotels and beach and some would physically assault and torture them when they are caught. He said they would put them in cells and release them whenever it pleases them.

He concluded by calling on the government to create employment opportunities for young people to give them an option so that they would not follow tourists."

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rassimian

United Kingdom
125 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2012 :  12:24:12  Show Profile Send rassimian a Private Message
In order to have 'all year round tourism' the main stumbling block is not from a Gambian point of view. After all they are always ready to sell goods or provide accommodation no matter when. My good friend works as a juice presser near the Seaview down from Senegambia and spends long hours for a few dalasi.He has to come from Bakau and when the season is over he has nothing to do. The biggest problem is to get tourists to the Gambia between April and October and unless airfares and package deals are affordable then this will not happen.
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toubab1020



9542 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2012 :  14:14:12  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message
An excellent point,although tour operators have promoted this idea,obviously to get more trade,they have not thought it through,firstly how are they able to cut their costs to make "out of season holidays" affordable for the rest of us who are suffering,high taxation,increased fuel bills,increased transport costs ,increased food costs, job insecurity,eroding savings ?
I agree that such a prospect would be attractive,realistic now, no,it's money and bums on seats,Gambia has a limited appeal for tourists,other destinations do offer better value at this time.


"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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kisley



United Kingdom
214 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2012 :  23:33:51  Show Profile Send kisley a Private Message
A small snapshot from a tourist like myself.

if you go to a "craft market" it is impossible to look at anything without the trader constantly harrasing you to buy their product. You can't simply look at something and just look around the stall, the traders are behind you (literally)every step of the way.
So instead of blaming the hotels and the tourists,maybe the traders should take a long hard look at how they conduct themselves.
This is the main reason why I rarely buy from stall holders.

In the end they wear you down, and you just end up retiring to your hotel.

Plus the craft markets are not very original, same old stuff, "thinking man" etc. The hotel shop has more original items,(and you can browse to your hearts content without being bothered by over zealous traders.) I bought a gorgeous "rag doll" dressed in traditional gambian dress from a hotel shop, everyone loves it, but you cant buy that type of item in the craft market, they seem to concentrate too much on masks, animal carvings etc. Time to rethink what they sell!

Also Having just come back a few days ago from gambia, i can also tell you that I would never ever leave the hotel without being accompanied by someone else, as the hassle is horrendous...and not just from the bumsters.
And believe me I am no shrinking violet.

But there seems to be a culture in Gambia of blaming someone else.
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toubab1020



9542 Posts

Posted - 23 Apr 2012 :  01:00:42  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message
What you say is true,why is that ? To MOST Gambians tourists are money on legs,stall holders have expenses,rent on their stalls,the tourists that come are not captive like hotel guests ,so you have no choice than to try your hardest to get money bearing in mind that the traders believe that you are there to buy and not to look.
"Old stuff", why ? because these craftsmen have been carvers for generations and probably their grandfathers made the same old stuff,the traders PROBABLY didn't do the carvings themselves they bought them from the carvers as their fathers and grandfathers did before them,they just are not in the mindset to try something new to sell.
Your hotel shop,the rents here are a great deal higher than the craft market so those who man and rent the shops generally have had a better education and exposure to tourists at close quarters and are able to modify their behaviour, and know what sells most.
"i can also tell you that I would never ever leave the hotel without being accompanied by someone else, as the hassle is horrendous..." quite true again,why ? you are a tourist,money on legs and things are hard in Gambia,
And of course you are in a tourist area.
"But there seems to be a culture in Gambia of blaming someone else."
That's true as well Gambians cannot take personal responsibility.
Don't forget the famous Gambian saying " Gambia no problem", always said with a big smile


"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 23 Apr 2012 01:07:40
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toubab1020



9542 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2012 :  12:34:51  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message

Jet another attempt to tame the Bumster,will this one be any more successful,I am sure it's not the intention to fill Mile Two to overflowing with strong able bodied Gambians who because there are FEW jobs they have chosen their own self employment route of being a Bumster.

http://observer.gm/africa/gambia/article/authorities-reinforce-fight-against-bumsters

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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