Monday, December 4

Gambia has opportunity to get sustainable numbers from Nigeria, says Ikechi Uko

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By Yunus S Saliu

As the World Travel Market 2023 enters its day two on Tuesday, Mr Ikechi Uko, the organizer of the Akwaba Travel Market (ATQ) and Gambia tourism staunch promoter in Nigeria has indicated that the Gambia has more opportunity get sustainable number of visitors from Nigeria.

The tourism guru speaking with this reporter at the ongoing WTM 2023 in Excel London said 

there is something unique about the Gambia experience that goes beyond the 3s and the hotels in The Gambia which nobody can still explain.

Commenting about the uniqueness of the Gambia, he said “For the past ten years I have been asking what makes the Gambia a unique destination. No one can answer the question because Nigerians like going to where to do shopping but The Gambia is not known as a shopping destination, so there is a unique connection that Gambia has. When I started introducing the country to Nigerians I kept telling them that the destination is a product that once you sample it you will want more.”

However, “I am happy that the interest in the Gambia is still there but all it needs to be done is to reinforce and grow it.”

Meanwhile, for most of the African countries, he noted that WTM is one of the most available summits that offers the opportunity for them to participate in the world game.

Africans need to meet the world and sell Africa as a product, he said, “because they don’t know more about our products.”

WTM, this year, according to him is better for African countries as they bring Africa to the centre rather than putting them in a corner like in the past. “Therefore African countries should take advantage of this World Travel Market it is one of the biggest opportunities to sell African countries and the continent as a whole.”

Mr. Uko however expressed satisfaction about seeing more African countries taking advantage of the WTM and Gambia not lacking behind, which is one of the biggest opportunities for individual countries.

However, he stated that the Nigerian market is exploding, the tour operators are becoming much more adventurous looking for new destinations to promote and sell.

“And the Gambia has an opportunity to get sustainable numbers from Nigeria by starting now and never stopping because it has to be a continuous process,” he added.

World Travel Market in its 17th year is a “place for people who refuse to go back to the status quo and it is the world’s most influential travel and tourism event.”