By Yunus S Saliu
For a more demanding, sustainable, and stakeholders-driven industry, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Gambia High Commission in London has pressed the Gambia First Family to be more involved in rebranding The Gambia.
Mr. Sulayman Suntu Touray, the Deputy Head of Mission at The Gambia High Commission in London, speaking in an interview with this reporter at the World Travel Market (WTM) held Excel London noted that the Gambia has been having tourists from London and other parts of the UK for the past 40 to 50 years ” even other people said 60 years which has makes the UK market important to The Gambia.”
He stated that the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) led by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC) with other stakeholders in the industry has always been engaging in the World Travel Market (WTM) here to promote and sell destination Gambia known as Smiling Coast of Africa
The GTBoard with the MOTC has always been engaging in the World Travel market to sell the Gambia, its potential, and what the country offers; “and of course, we have seen now that old countries even the countries that are rich in mineral resources oil gas manufacturing like Japan Saudi Arabia and other African countries like Morocco are all still branding them to bring new people, incomes, and of course generate revenue internally. Like them, The Gambia stands here today (at WTM) to represent that drive to offer, market, and demonstrate to the world what the Gambia can offer.”
Among other discourses held at the WTM with stakeholders such as tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, and other partners, he disclosed, is to involve the executive, the President of The Gambia including the First Family to spearhead the rebranding of the Gambia.
“We have seen our neighbouring countries in the like of Senegal, Cape Verde, and other countries competing with The Gambia. Tourism is a business and people are competing, so there is a need to involve the President to promote the destination and rebrand the Gambia in such a way that the friendliness, culture, vibrancy, youthfulness, and smiling we are known for. Every year the UK generates billions through the Royal Family,” he expressed further.
According to him, having the president himself spearheading the promotion of the destination will be a plus to the Gambia tourism industry.
“A good example is Rwanda partnering with Arsenal and the Gambia President Barrow is a big-time Arsenal fan which is not hidden and his involvement in promoting The Gambia as a tourism destination can generate income and more visitors to the country,” he asserted.
Commenting on The Gambia stand at the WTM 2023, he enunciated that The Gambia stand is always attractive with lots of local materials on display. However, we also call on the media to promote the good image of the country while everyone should know that branding the name of a country is every individual business.”