All-Inclusive Tourism Package Disrupts Businesses of local Juice Producers in Gambia 

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Local juice producers at the Kololi beachfront have expressed concerns over the adverse effects of the all-inclusive tourism package on their businesses.

The tourism industry employs several Gambian youths who depend on their businesses for survival.

Sarjo Ceesay sells fruits and makes different fruit juice at the beachside of Senegambia.

Ceesay, 33 years old, lives with his family in Manjai. He comes to the beach daily to prepare his fruit juice for tourists and locals who usually visit the beach daily. Mr. Ceesay depends on his business for survival.         

      

“I sell fruits like pineapple, mango, orange, and pawpaw. Sometimes I use these fruits to make it into juice locally, the juice is good, and many people enjoy it.”

Despite gathering little income from his business, Sajor says the all-inclusive tourism package threatens his business.

“Tourists are many here, but they don’t buy our fruit juice very often because most of them stay in hotels, and those hotels also have people who sell fruits like us,” he disclosed.

According to ceesay, they usually run after tourists to advertise their locally produced juice varieties.

He appealed to the government to consider youths, saying that lack of job opportunities is one of the reasons youths embark on the back way journey. 

“Youths need to see themselves in nation-building; that is why many young people normally embark on the backway journey. Therefore, I want to call on young people to invest in a business but equally call on the government to encourage the youths of this country,” Sarjo recommended.  

Youths continue to outline a need for job opportunities in the small West African country. However, the Gambia still faces considerable challenges concerning reducing poverty.

According to reports, the all-inclusive system was first introduced in the country in the 1995-96 tourist seasons during the era of the military junta of Yahya Jammeh.

The military government introduced the package in a desperate effort to revitalize from tatters the collapsed tourism industry that had suffered from the British travel advice to its citizens vacationing in The Gambia in response to the 1994 military coup d’état, tourism expert with the knowledge of the industry told Alkamba Times. 

“The all-inclusive product was not well received, facing opposition from small-scale operators who raised concerns about its threats to their businesses. After a few years in operations, the government argued that all-inclusive tourism products did not favor small-scale operators in the market because the package had no trickle-down effect, which was harmful to the economy”.

“The former government also concluded that all-inclusive packages cut off vendors and small businesses from benefiting in the tourism trade. So after that, it banned the package and ordered Frost Touristik International (FTI), the company authorized to offer the product, to leave the country”.

In a reversal of the previous government’s decision, the Minister of Tourism, Hamat Bah, traveled to Germany to hand deliver a license to FTI to resume operations there. Two decades after it ended its operations in The Gambia, in the 2016-17 tourist seasons, FTI continued offering the all-inclusive product to tourists visiting the country for vacations.”

Hon. Hamat NK. Bah Minister of Tourism & Culture

Defending his decision the reintroduction of the product in The Gambian market, Bah told members of the National Assembly that “62% of all bookings in world tourism are all-inclusive customers, and it has become necessary that The Gambia’s tourism sector cannot go against the trend that exists in the world.

Despite the tourism minister’s claim on the all-inclusive package, Sajor and his colleague continue to call on the government of president Adma Barrow to come to their aid.

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