By Yunus S Saliu
The summer months known as the Green Season in the Gambia accounted for 45% of total arrivals in 2021 showing significant growth over the 2020 summer period which was a complete lockdown for the destination; all the summer months as recorded registered more than 100% growth in 2021.
According to Adama Njie, director of Marketing GTBoard, in the destination, Gambia tourism is perceived to be at the winter and green seasons, “the winter season begins in November and ends by April whilst the green season begins in May and lasted till October. So the winter season is the tourism peak period while the green period is rated to be the low period for air arrivals.”
Mr Njie quickly disclosed that lots of works are done to dispel it to promote the destination Gambia as a year-round destination.
Even though the green season accounted for 45% of the total arrivals in 2021, he said the winter months, which is the peak from November to April each season, the air arrival in 2021 is 56,896. The figure he compared with the 2020 winter arrivals of 82,795 showed a decline of 32%. So, the “winter period contributed 55% of the total arrivals in 2021. A decline in arrivals observed especially in January (74%), February (79%) and March (63%) affected the total arrivals, but on the hand, November and December 2021 recorded an increase of 221% and 121% respectively compared to 2020.”
However, he noted that there is an increase in the number of land arrivals in destination Gambia in 2021 compared to previous years.
According to him, the total land arrivals in 2021 were 217,593 increases by 147% (69,651) compared to 2020 which recorded 147,942, “all the months in 2021 increased in arrivals.”
The Director of Marketing disclosed, according to the Gambia Immigration Department, the land is the most popular mode of entry in The Gambia, “as more especially our neighbouring country Senegal visit the destination by land and it is apparent that (in 2021) land arrivals still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as compared to arrivals during the previous years.”
On the sea arrivals, he said from January to December 2021 recorded 11,669 visitors an increase of 31% compared to 2020 (8,927), “there was an increase in arrivals in all months in 2021, too.”
Meanwhile, the total number of arrivals by air in 2021 is 102,460, an increase of 15% compared to 89,232 in 2020 this is an increase in arrivals to destination Gambia for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“2021 recorded a significant increase in tourist arrivals particularly in the fourth quarter of the year, marking the return of tourist arrivals in Destination Gambia for the past two years 2019/2020,” the Director of Marketing, Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) disclosed.