6 June 2012

Gambia: GTBoard to Go Professional - As New DG Takes Over

The appointment of a new Director General for the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) was confirmed to the Tourisphere by Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, Minister of Tourism and Culture.

Benjamin A Roberts the new appointed Director General of Gambia Tourism Board is an experienced young man who has worked in various establishments both in private and public sectors before this his new appointment. He was appointed as the DG for GTBoard by the president of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya A J J Jammeh. And his appointment takes effect from April 2012.

In a chat with the new GTBoard's DG, he thanked His Excellency President of the Republic of the Gambia for appointing him as Director General of the GTBoard. He said it is part of his plan and agenda to move GTBoard forward. And taking into consideration the degree of professionalism the tourism sector requires especially in The Gambia where tourism constitutes between 12 and 16 per cent of the country's GDP, it is necessary that people in the sector be professional. As charity begins at home, there is need for everyone involve in the affairs of the sector to be professional in their area of duty and assignment.

The word 'professional' means a lot in the sector as DG Benjamin A Roberts, said any institution that is not operating on professional footing 'cannot achieve anything.' Therefore to move this industry forward, it is necessary GTBoard go professional and focus more on how to market the industry.

According to him "with more dedication in marketing and with greater stakeholders engagement in the industry, the board will be able to deliver in very near future," he noted. And with this, GTBoard can get to the high level where every stakeholder in the industry will have trust in each other, collaborate and work together for the betterment of the industry.

Talking about marketing, the DG who has numbers of greater experienced in banking sector said GTBoard has executive committee called Tourism Executive Committee and this committee comprises of various stakeholders in the industry like hoteliers, tour operators, agents, amongst others. And they are working with tour operators who bring tourists to the country to facilitate joint marketing initiative.

It is worth nothing that GTBoard, according to DG Benjamin, is building e-platform marketing and database that will contain numerous packages that is not limited to only booking or accommodation reservation alone. But with marketing tools such as facebook, google, youtube, twitter where some of the products and activities available here in The Gambia can be showcase, this will soon be lunched.

Benjamin who has just spent a month in the office, in his bid to move forward the industry has been having consultative meetings with different stakeholders and ready to work with different positive stakeholders. As parts of his institution strategy to strengthen and promote the destination, Gambia, they are working with Gambia Golf Association to bring about twenty-five teams of Golf players to the country this month.

Profile

Benjamin A Roberts is an articulate, confident, professional and dynamic young man. He studied and received his M. Soc. Sci. in Economics at the National University of Singapore, MA in Industrial Strategy and Trade Policy at the University of Manchester, and BSBA in Economics and Finance (Double Major).

Benjamin A Roberts began his career as a Financial Analyst at Databank Group in year 2004 and later that year he moved to Standard Chattered Bank where he started as Chief Dealer, between 2006 and 2007 he worked as the Relationship Manager; and between 2007 and 2008 he was made the Credit Analyst.

In 2008 and 2009 he was promoted to Head of Credit and in the same bank in 2009 and 2010 he became an Associate Director. In October 2010 and May 2012 he become Director at Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency, a position he held for nineteen months before he was appointed by His Excellency as Director General of GTBoard.

In summary, he has six years of banking experience with Standard Chartered Bank Group, two years in Middle management and three years in senior management capacity. Two years of research and financial analysis experience with Databank Group in Ghana and the Gambia plus about two years experience in business development and export and investment promotions.

As part of his achievements, during his tenure of office as a Director, Business and Export Development, he set up the business and export development department from scratch and recruited both the export and business development managers; established technical assistance program with the Singapore Cooperation Program for training and capacity development for the agency; Focal point for Ecowas trade expert network; amongst other.

As an Associate Director at the Standard Chartered Bank, where his responsibilities involved to provide strategic direction for wholesale bank through development of technical and industry knowledge of the team, pro-active management of the business portfolio, and deepening of our relationship with select high net worth clients. He was able to grow local corporate high net worth client portfolio by US6 million dollars over a 6 months period; he oversaw two audits, one Central Bank and one PKF, with Pass Audits in both.

These his achievements continued as he as well in the past has three publications in his sleeves namely A gravity study of the proposed China ASEAN Free Trade Area, International Trade Journal, 2004, Is this Africa's Century? African Business Magazine 2004 and Plight of a Nation: overcoming the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, and Economic dependence in The Gambia published February 2010.

And he has in the past honors with Presidential Scholar Award for Undergraduate Studies; he has received Martin Luther King Leadership Awards; John Sublett Logan Scholarships for Graduate Studies - the University of Manchester and National University of Singapore Scholarship.

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