By Yunus S Saliu
In spite the increase in arrivals by 15% in 2021, all the traditional markets still decline by 35% in same year compared to 2020.
According to the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) data, the total arrivals from the Non-Traditional Markets recorded a growth of 89% in 2021 compared to the 2020 arrivals, “except for a few markets like Czechs, Italy, Poland and China, all Non-traditional Markets increased in arrivals in 2021.”
Breaking it down, Traditional Markets total arrivals from January to December 2021 was 34,520 a decline of 35% (18679) compared to January to December 2020 which recorded 53,199. Statistically, the Dutch market top the list of nationalities accounting for 28%, followed by British 25%, German 14%, Swedish 12%, Belgian 7% and Spanish 5%, Danish 4%, Finland 3% and Norwegian 2%.
However, arrivals by nationality from most major source markets all registered declined from January to December 2021 compared to 2020 of the same periods. United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Finnish, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Holland all decline by 4%, 47%, 64%, 73%, 11%, 42%, 39%, and 73% respectively, but “Spain was the only market that registered an increase in arrivals for more than 100%.”
Meanwhile, Non-Traditional Markets arrivals from January to December 2021 were 67,940, an increase of 89% (31,907) compared to January to December 2020 arrivals of 36,033 and a decline by 25%when compared to the pre-pandemic in 2019 of the same periods.
As disclosed by the GTBoard Director of Marketing, Adama Njie, “the Non- traditional markets contributed 45% of the total arrivals in 2021.Markets such as France and America have increased more than 100% in 2021 compared to 2020, Austria and Nigeria increased by 7% and 90% respectively. Markets such as Italy, Poland, Czech, Ireland, and China all declined in arrivals by 30%, 92%, 58%, 23% and 43% respectively in 2021 compared to 2020. However, Gambians increased in arrivals by more than 100% in 2021 compared to 2020.”
It is noted, according to the World Bank’s Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project (GGCP), that tourists arriving in Gambia are classed as either ‘Traditional or Non-Traditional.’ Those in the ‘traditional markets’ are Countries from which The Gambia has historically attracted visitors. ‘Non-Traditional markets’ are those from which The Gambia has not traditionally attracted tourists but where interest in the destination is steadily growing. The ‘Non-Traditional’ markets present a possibility to improve Destination Gambia’s tourism arrival numbers, and if successful, would become a ‘Traditional market.’
The Traditional Markets for the Destination Gambia included Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Netherland and Spain. While the Non-Traditional Markets included Czech, Poland, Ireland, France, America, Italy, Austria, Russian, China, Senegal and Saudi Arabia.