By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Scores of stakeholders of the Tourism and Travel Industry have reacted to recent new tariff structures designed by the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for implementation at the Banjul International Airport (BIA).
In a statement issued on 13th January 2023, and obtained by The Voice, the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority stated that following consultative meetings with various stakeholders the authority has consented to increase Passenger Service Charges and Security Charges as well as introduce Passenger Safety Levy effectively May 1st, 2023.
The GCAA statement specified that Passenger Service Charges (PSC) will be increased from £10 to £15, Security Charges from £1.5 to $25, while Passenger Security Levy will be pegged at $5, noting that the new tariff structure is necessitated by the authority’s desire to recover from investments carried out at the Banjul International Airport as well as improving on quality services provided to the teaming visitors coming and going out of the country.
Meanwhile, stakeholders of the Tourism and Travel Industry have cast doubt on the new tariff structure at the Banjul International Airport, describing it as an outrageous, insensitive, and disappointing initiative that will only help to reduce the number of travelers using the Airport.
Liane Sallah, chairperson Tourism, and Travel Association of the Gambia (TTAG) and Chief Executive Officer of Africa Adventure Tours stressed that the development has come as a bit disappointing to all stakeholders of the industry, noting that the increment in the tariff structure will create a lot of damage to the tourist industry.
He noted that the situation has already triggered one tour operating company to reduce the number of flights it intended to bring into the country.
“The tour operator we are working with was planning four flights next winter but after receiving this information they have decided to reduce it to two (2) flights instead and obviously, two extra flights will create more income for the country than the increased tax at the airport.
Sadly they (GCAA) didn’t ask for our (TTAG) opinion on the move, we could have easily shown them the distress this matter will have on the industry,” said Sallah.
She added: “Government doesn’t listen to our comments sadly.”
Lamin Sillah prominent Gambian Diaspora living in Bronx New York, who is also a frequent traveler to the country also downgraded the reasons advanced by the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) regarding the increments at the Banjul International Airport, arguing that this type of increment can only happen in the country due to the failure of the Gambian people to take their rightful position to disapprove some of the bad policies of the regime. “For me, it’s very disappointing that the Gambia Government can affect such an increment at a time when the citizens of the country are going through the toughest times of our independence. How with this increment because it can only happen in the Gambia because there is nowhere in the world where such types of tariffs are being paid by travelers,” Lamin Sillah, Bronx USA, observed