Posted - 15 Aug 2021 : 12:38:01
Tourism being one of the main sources of revenue for The Gambia, one would expect a better relationship between the Ministry of Tourism and it's partners within the sector.
It is very disappointing to see such a press release from the Ministry of Tourism threatening to not issue license if staff are not vaccinated when we know many Gambians are already sceptical about the existence of the virus let alone being vaccinated.
It would have been much better for the ministry to engage partners in a well coordinated sensitisation campaign to make sure the staff understand the pros of taking the vaccine and in general the about Covid-19.
It is very convenient to sit in a comfortable air conditioned offices and write such press releases without thinking of the negative impact it might have.
The tourism sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry’s volatile relationship with the tourism sector as a whole will not improve with such a press statement.
We have more problems than just vaccinations. Next to zero adherence to Covid-19 rules ( wearing mask in public, avoiding crowds, washing hands, keeping distance), quarantine, mass Covid-19 testing, contact tracing are all well below the standards expected.
To date we have people waiting for their second dose of Astra Zeneca and not enough vaccines to even vaccinate half of the population. Seeing other countries with well over 50% of adults vaccinated and still faced with Covid-19 related challenges must be a lesson to learn from.
We hope that the ministry withdraws this press release and rather engage the partners in this sector in dialogue to come up with better ways of getting the staff vaccinated.
Press Release Dated 12th August, 2021
MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND CULTURE INSTRUCTS OPERATORS WITHIN THE TOURISM AND LEISURE INDUSTRY TO HAVE THEIR STAFF VACCINATED
Consistent with international protocols related to the Covid-19 global pandemic, The Ministry of Tourism and Culture hereby instructs all operators within the Tourism and Leisure Industry to have their staff fully vaccinated.
Therefore, tour and hotel operators, bars and restaurants, casinos and nightclubs, swimming pools, foreign exchange bureaux, taxi-cab operators, salon and barbershops, gymnasia, fruit vendors, boutiques and guest houses and lodges, Tourist guides, bird watchers, boat owners, guest houses, camps and lodges, travel agent operators , beauty and massage palours, mini/supermarkets, museums and art galleries, juice pressers, horse riders, equipment hirers, upcountry tourism facilities, cultural and historic sites and tourist markets within the Tourism Development Area (TDA) are strictly instructed to comply with this directive.
Operators who fail to heed to this directive, shall be rendered unsafe to partake in the upcoming tourism season.
Equally, any business entity within the designated TDA that employs unvaccinated staff in contravention of this directive shall be rendered unsafe and unfit to operate in the tourism season and shall not be licensed by The Gambia Tourism Board or any Government Agency to operate a business.
A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone