The much awaited skydiving event dubbed 'The Gambia Beach Boogie' opened Sunday at Senegambia Beach Hotel, Kololi and Coco Ocean Bijilo, where skydivers made their first landing.
The event was graced by Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, the minister of Tourism and Culture; Fatou Lamin Faye, the minister of Basic and Secondary Education; and Alieu K. Kebba Jammeh, the minister of Youth and Sports, along with a large crowd of onlookers.
In a short speech at the opening of the event, Minister Jobe-Njie applauded the organiser for a great job, noting that the event attracted people of different nationalities including Australians, Germans, French, Swiss and Italians, among others.
She said that prior to the start of the event the participants did a tour of The Gambia in which they were exposed to the beauty, warmth and hospitality of the country. "We are hoping that they are coming back after this event as tourists, not as skydivers only, since majority of them are here for the first time," she remarked.
The Tourismminister said her ministry and the Gambia Tourism Board are collaborating in this event, and saluted the Gambia Tour, Gampetroleum, Gambia Navy, The Gambia Fire and Rescue Services as well as the Tourist Security Unit for their support. She also thanked her colleague ministers for witnessing the event and called on every Gambian and non-Gambian alike to come out in their numbers and book their places especially on Tedium jump as the game continues. She explained that the Tedium jump is the game whereby one is connected to an instructor to fall out of the airplane.
She said her ministry is looking ahead to upcoming festivals in the country, like the Roots Home Coming Festival, Kanilai International Cultural Festival and even the Food and Drinks Festival.
For her part, Fatou Lamin Faye, the minister of Basic and Secondary Education, applauded the Tourism Ministry for its efforts in bringing more tourists to the country. She noted that GTBoard and the Ministry are working together to create new things, adding that more new innovations are coming into the tourism secto, which will help in bringing back the country's stories that have been lost. She pointed out that tourists only come back when they know that there are new things in the tourism industry. "We are happy that they came up with this new event to add to the existing ones," she said.
Alieu Kebba Jammeh, the minister of Youth and Sports, also expressed delight at this unique experience. He also applauded the efforts of the Tourism Ministry. Patrick Pass, the instructor to the skydivers, after their first jump said it is nice to jump here in The Gambia, as the weather is warm and fantastic. He thanked the government of The Gambia, and in particular the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, for the warm welcome accorded to them.