The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture has said that tourism has huge potentials to increase government revenue, reduce poverty and create employment opportunities, hence it is currently recognised to be a major economic and social activity in most countries.
Cordu L. Jabang made this remark Tuesday at the official opening of a five-day training programme on customer services, marketing and public relations, for stakeholders in the tourism sector. The training, which is organised by Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard), is being held at the Dunes Resort in Kotu.
The training amongst other things seeks to primarily address very critical variables in the hospitality industry, including quality and consistency of service in the industry, which is an ongoing concern for the tourism sector.
Jabang said the hospitality industry is undergoing a very dynamic transformation and certain trends have gradually been entrenched at the global level and these include, but are not limited to, acceleration of technological innovations which no doubt revolutionises the day-to-day running of business in the tourism industry; the new tourists are getting more demanding and the explosion in communication technology and the impact of the role of the internet in tourism.
"Therefore, the ability to succeed and the future performance of tourism and related activities will depend largely upon the skills set, qualities and knowledge that managers will be able to bring their business in confronting and addressing these challenges," Jabang added.
The MoTC DPS further stated that the future of tourism is bright, but in an increasingly globalised and competitive world, it is incumbent on tourism destinations such as The Gambia to embrace innovation and design more robust strategies. "This is with a view to mainstreaming quality in our operations and exceed the expectations of our myriad of guests in the various hospitality establishments," she added.
She highlighted the importance of the training, saying it will help to appreciate and adapt to change, particularly in fast moving areas such as quality in tourism "as this is very critical in our efforts to transform The Gambia into a much sought after destination that is not only unique, but capable of providing rewarding experiences and trendy service".
Benjamin A Roberts, the director general of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard), welcomed the participants and acknowledged their partners. He informed the gathering that in order to have a sustainable training programme, GTBoard has signed a five-year deal with their partners for the service of the tourism industry.
He explained that the idea is to have training with the expectation that people benefit from this and future training, and will become experts that could help facilitate subsequent trainings, which would boost the service delivery of staff of all the hotels. The GTBoard boss added that one of the best ways to achieve the aims of the industry is through training, which participants have to take advantage of, and ensure that knowledge, skills and experience gathered from the PUM experts should be put into practice.
Lai Mboge, the chairman of the Gambia Hotel Association (GHA), said the training is a fundamental platform especially for those that are willing to continue with their careers, irrespective of educational background or position in a job."Training is a market that is expanding as new innovations, technologies and sales and marketing approach originates on daily bases and they are all customer service," he added.
He pointed out that the heart and the secret of hoteliers is patient, flexibility and customer satisfaction, which are first priorities.He finally urged the participants to be fully involved in the training and share the knowledge gained with their colleagues in their respectful hotels.