By Yunus S Saliu
Considering the critical roles tour operators play in success of tourism in any country, the Gambia Minister of Tourism and Culture has welcomed the L’Aventure Culturelle et Sportive S.A.S (ACS) to the Smiling Coast of Africa in grand style.
Honorable Hamat NK Bah accompanied by his deputy permanent secretary, senior officials of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) and Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC) were in Kerr Ayoub border post in the North Bank Region of The Gambia on Monday to received officials of the tour operator, L’Aventure Culturelle et Sportive S.A.S. team, from Senegal, led by Gaziano Tevere, president of ACS.
L’Aventure Culturelle et Sportive S.A.S is a Senegal based tour operator that ready to bring French tourists to destination Gambia, on a new trail called Stone Circles of Senegambia Trail.
Stone Circles of Senegambia Trail mainly is to bring interested tourists from French countries among other places to the destination Gambia to visit the Kerr Batch and Wassu Stones Circle located in Nianija and Niani, respectively, in Central River Region (CRR) The Gambia. And also, stones circle sites in Senegal.
The Gambia stones circle sites were among the 851 properties from 144 different countries listed and noted as World Heritage Sites in November 2007 and it remains part of the legal territory of the state where in the site are locates and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
Meanwhile, the nine-member team had a FAM-Trip to Kerr Batch and Wassu Stones Circle located in Nianija and Niani, respectively for sightseeing.
Receiving officials of the ACS to the country, Honorable Hamat NK Bah harped on the existing good relations between The Gambia and Senegambia though they (Senegal and The Gambia) are two countries divided by colonial masters.
He noted that the two countries shared similar culture, tradition, dresses, food even behavior “and nothing can separate us.”
He noted further that whatever the two countries do together they will succeed “and that’s why government of The Gambia have a policy of making sure that we have a joint marketing with Senegal and bring tourists to Gambia and Senegal.”
To succeed in doing this (regional tourism), Honorable Bah used the moment to appealed to the security officers, especially at the border posts, to facilitate free movement of tourists between the two neighboring countries “being European or African tourists by doing whatever it takes to better represent the images of these two countries outside the sub-region.”
Graciano Tevere, president of L’Aventure Culturelle et Sportive S.A.S (ACS) expressed gratitude to the Gambia tourism and culture Minister and his envoy for the warm welcome accorded him and his team.
He extolled the great cooperation between The Gambia and Senegal especially on the new Stone Circles of Senegambia Trail while he further declared his company’s interest on the stones circles, which he said he already read about through document prepared for UNESCO classification of the stones circle.
In his remarks, Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the NCAC explained that in 2006 the two countries worked together to have the Senegambia stone circles enlist in the UNESCO World Heritage and now “we want to valorize these sites by encouraging everyone to visit.”
Adama Njie, Director of Marketing of GTBoard reiterated the importance attached to the project by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture-led by Honorable Hamat NK Bah.
He stated that through the Stone Circles of Senegambia Trail, Senegal and The Gambia will become a destination where one can have a taste of what they (Senegal and The Gambia) can offer.