Renowned Artist and Painter Aisha Fofana alias Mama Africa
By Mafugi Ceesay
Renowned Artist and Painter Aisha Fofana alias Mama Africa has told Alkamba Times that the only way Gambia can compete with bigger countries in tourism is by investing in cultural tourism.
The Ambassador of African Arts and World famous artist whose works celebrate the continents cultural riches, women’s empowerment and social cohesion stressed that copying what other countries are doing cannot achieve the country its best as bigger countries far outdo us in other area’s within the dynamic sector.
TAT Editor with mama Africa at her Arts Museum in Tanji
“The Gambia can only sell what it uniquely has to offer so that tourists would be drawn to the destination and its culture and arts which are unique attractions that can drive us to our best”.
A great sunny weather and the longest beach stretch in Africa’s west coast forms a major part of the Gambia’s appeal for tourists but the country offers much more in a richly diverse culture and creative traditions that highlight its deeply cultural past.
Aisha believes this positions the country for more exploration in drawing holidaymakers to its beautiful shores.
“The Gambia should stop believing that it can make the best out of sun and beach tourism, these are everywhere in the world now. Countries like Spain, Holland and Italy also offer these attractions in more competitive ways drawing tourists from around the world. The competition is very high.”
A new focus on Tourism & Culture 
The artist whose works in promoting the Gambia and African traditions have been widely recognised,  sees the need for a new focus on Tourism and Culture to expand the Gambia’s economy.
Local Hammock at Mama Africa Arts centre and Museum

“The country has lots of minerals, trade potential and agricultural diversity  but tourism is the most dynamic income earner and most important part of the economy.   What the country needs is a longer tourism season. Four, five months in the year is not enough especially when it falls within the rainy season because tourists are seeking sunny destinations”.

Making Tourism a year-long affair
The world famous artist and painter told TAT more efforts should be invested to push tourism all year round and in doing so, the country needs to engage the best professionals to deliver this.
“The The Gambia needs to start selling its culture alongside investment to develop and expand its cultural attractions. The country cannot promote tourism when it has very little to offer. If the Gambia wants to make good in tourism, it has to build necessary infrastructure for more attractions and initiate hubs that tourists will frequent to enjoy our culture.”
Mama Africa Arts Residence

Aisha Fofana is on a committed journey to inspire a creative renaissance towards sustainable development through arts and culture in Africa. Her works take a wide expanse exploring African traditions, values and norms, and the unique opportunities they offer for new generations. The artist is also an ardent advocate for youth and women’s  development.

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