By: Kebba Ansu Manneh
Abubakar Camara, Director General of The Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard), has described the awarding of certificates to two prominent hotels by Tripadvisor and the awarding of another certificate to The Gambia by the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) as Results of successful marketing strategies implore by Authority.
GTBoard Director General’s remarks come on the heels of the awarding of a certificate to the Kombo Beach Hotel by Tripadvisor as the world’s friendliest hotel and Ocean Bay Hotel emerges as second most friendly hotel in Africa as well as The Gambia emerging as winner of the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) Award on Tourism and Decade of Action.
According to a recent survey on Tripadvisor, the Kombo Beach Hotel is known for welcoming back repeat guests, and customer service is the key, with 52.74% of reviewers calling it “friendly.” Similarly, the Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort, with 49.9% “friendly” reviews, is Africa’s second most friendly hotel.
The survey indicated that several guests and tourists had given testimonies about the hospitality nature offered by Kombo Beach Hotel and Ocean Bay Hotel in The Gambia.
The Gambia won the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) Award on Tourism and Decade of Action in a related development. The UNWTO staged the 2023 edition of the Tourism Video competition among Member States. This year’s competition, with the theme: “Celebrating the Power of Tourism through Film,” was divided into two categories: “Tourism and the Decade of Action “and “Exceptional Stories of Sustainable Tourism. “
“We (GTBoard) are delighted for the awards conferred on Kombo Beach Hotel and Ocean Bay Hotel; it’s a big achievement for both these hotels and the country. The awards also depict the true name of the destination, ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa,’ where visitors enjoy the highest standards of hospitality during their stay,” GTBoard Director General Abubacarr Camara reacted.
“The Awards are not surprising; it is the results of the hard work of GTBoard and its partners on the ground locally and internationally to place the destination back on the global tourism map. Unlike other destinations like Kenya, our pride is our people and our cultures that we package and sell to the world, and this is truly paying dividends, especially with these awards and recognitions.”
He disclosed that the recognition of these hotels by Tripadvisor is an excellent achievement for the country that will undoubtedly attract many more tourists and visitors to the nation, adding that Tripadvisor is a reference point for many would-be tourists who rely on its advice and in sourcing out hotels to spend their holidays.
Reacting to The Gambia emerging as the winner of the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) Award on Tourism and Decade of Action, Director General Abubacarr Camara said it’s a big win for the country looking at the caliber of the competitors who participated in the process.
Director General Abubacarr Camara continues to observe that the achievements have not come cheaply but result from genuine commitment and the dedication of both the Ministry of Tourism Gambia Tourism Board in changing the tides for the industry’s growth.
He said the hospitality nature of Gambians, coupled with its rich culture, are the main assets tourism authorities rely on to market the country, noting that over the past decade, GTBoard has inserted a lot of efforts in putting in place the right marketing strategies and promotions that continues to pay dividends in attracting many more tourists into the country.
The GTBoard Anchorman further expressed his optimism of many tourists visiting the country in the 2023-2024 tourism season, disclosing that more than fifty-three (53) Chartered and Schedule flights are expected to bring tourists for holidays into the country.
“We (Tourism Authorities) are currently attending the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) summit in the United Kingdom, where we also reached an agreement with the Gambia Experience and promised to add another flight to their list. We can proudly announce that Gambia Experience will now be flying three weekly flights to the country that will undoubtedly increase the volume of tourists we expect for the 2023-2024 tourism season,” DG Abubacarr Camara revealed to TAT.
He added: “We are optimistic about a very positive tourist season for the country with even greater numbers as earlier predicted. We want to encourage every Gambian to cherish our renowned Gambian hospitality, rich cultures, and the peace we are known for, which will undoubtedly attract more and more tourists to our shores.”
He also revealed GT Board’s desire to promote rural tourism that will allow Gambians to explore and know their own country, observing that the Authority has designed strategies for each region based on its scenic beauty, environment, and natural resources. Heritages are distinct from each other, giving multiple choices to would-be local visitors.