By Yunus S Saliu
As the 2022 winter tourism season picks up gradually, the TUI Belgium maiden flight, on Friday, 28th October 2022 landed at the Banjul International Airport Gambia with Belgian tourists.
The chartered maiden flight flew direct from Belgium to the Gambia and was received by the Director General of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) accompanied by his senior officials and TUI Airways agents at the destination.
TUI Airways is one of the biggest tour operators in the world and it flies to destination Gambia from different destinations including UK, Holland, and Belgium. The TUI maiden flight from Belgium will be followed by TUI UK and TUI Holland on the 1st and 5th of November 2022 respectively.
Commenting on the flight, Aboubacarr Camara, Director General of the GTBoard described the number of passengers onboard the flight as impressive taking into consideration that the country did not have TUI altogether from Belgium in the last winter tourism season. “Although, there were arrivals from Belgium they come through scheduled flights this time around they are coming through chartered flights and it is direct from Belgium,” DG Camara explained.
This season, “we are having TUI UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands. From TUI UK we are expecting 4 flights a week, while TUI Holland and Belgium will be doing 2 flights a week each,” he breakdown the frequencies of TUI Airways to the destination.
According to him, everyone is alerted on the start of the season, and going through the Tourism Development Area (TDA) a lot of renovations have been done by stakeholders with different activities put in place for the tourists to enjoy during their holiday or period of stay in the country.
Foday Bah, the E-marketing, IT Manager, and OIC of the Marketing department disclosed that the issue of the cancellation of the first four rotation flights has been resolved.
To avoid this ugly incident, he said there is a need for more sensitization as everyone needs to know and get informed, especially residents around the airport doe and don’t so they can be conscious of the airport requirements.
Commenting on the TUI Belgium maiden flight, he noted that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the GTBoard have done a lot of efforts to promote the destination in Belgium and other Gambia source markets, and in the first quarter “we have received our 47% growth from the Belgium market. It is a big success and I am sure if things go well we will have a fruitful season.”