Friday, June 22, 2012

Jammeh calls for regional plan for tourism development

Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh recognised that tourism has the potential to be a central pillar in West Africa’s economic development and therefore calls for an all-inclusive plan to develop the sector in the region.

“There is no better time than now to develop a comprehensive and strategic blue print for regional tourism development,” he said on Monday. 

This proposal will look into diverse issues like cross border tourism, standardization of hospitality facilities, regional, branding, common and unified tourism statistical and data systems, harmonized immigration policies, joint promotional and marketing strategies, market intelligence sharing and joint product development strategies as well as joint communication programmes and quality assurance schemes.
In a statement read on his behalf by Mrs. Fatou Lamin Faye, Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, during an ECOWAS Tourism Ministers Summit June 22-23, 2012 in Gambia, President Jammeh also recommend to ECOWAS tourism ministers to introduce new and innovative ways of conducting business such as internet bookings, e-marketing and website development.
He noted that such is necessary as rapid developments in information technology greatly revolutionized the way business is conducted in tourism.
The aim of the summit was to discus significant wide ranging issues geared towards the advancement of tourism in the sub-region. 
“Modern day tourism thrives on the beauty, splendor, variety and diversity of all that a region offers the discerning tourist,” he said. “The West African sub-region is well endowed with diverse natural and cultural attractions that could render our community a tourist haven in Africa.”
However, the Gambian leader noted that the challenge confronting the tourism sector is to be able to harness, package and project rich treasures into one big tourism product. 
He said this should be done with the potential and capacity to offer and deliver a diverse range of products, offers real life experiences to tourists, including the trendy and discerning ones in their yearning for multiple experiences in a regional context.
He also pressed for keen discussions on challenges confronting the sector with a view to positioning the sub-region as a multinational destination hotspot and haven that is capable of offering multiple and varied experiences to various categories of leisure travelers as well as business travelers.
Major Pillar
President Jammeh noted that tourism is a major economic pillar of the Gambian economy, saying “the sector has also assumed greater significance in the socio-economic development of our country.”
The Gambia attracts tourists from diverse places around the world and remains one of the most competitive destinations in African, he added.
This achievement, he said is due to the effective tourism policies that have been formulated over the years. It is also as a result of a mixture of unique attractions and facilities that complement the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Gambian people.

Source: The Voice Newspaper

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