Two hundred thousand tourists are expected in The Gambia in the next tourist season, said Tourism and Culture Minister, Hon, Benjahmin Roberts.
The most handsome Gambian minister, who was appointed in September 2014, made this disclosure in an interview with the online talk show, Fess.
He toldFess anchor Mariam Dainty that the tourism authorities have recently changed their marketing strategies.
According to him, his ministry is no longer marketing The Gambia as a sun, sand and sea destination.
He said: “We came to realise that any tourism destination can claim to have the same things. Our focus going forward is to really leverage on culture and try to sell The Gambia based on its culture.”
Hon. Roberts also said the next tourist season will start on the 18th September, one month earlier than expected.
While the majority of tourists visiting The Gambia are adults from European countries, the minister disclosed there is potential to attract young visitors, especially from the USA.
He said they are looking into the possibility of creating exchange programs between black universities in the USA and University of The Gambia.
When asked about what his ministry is doing to stop Child Sex Tourism (CST), Hon. Roberts responded: “We cannot unilaterally do it as a country and that is why we work in partnership with ECPAT and also Child Protection Alliance.
“It is something that is of concern to the government. I think we are very clear in terms of what the government’s position is.”
According to him, there is the need to adequately prepare the tourism security unit to get a real sense of the problem.
The minister added that the presence of children on the beach should be discouraged, because it can put them at harm’s way.
“Some hawkers bring along their kids and try to use them to beg from tourists.”
The Gambia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in sub-Saharan African. Every year, thousands of tourists visit the country, most of them repeat visitors.