The minister for Tourism and Culture has said that "2012 was a very good year for the Gambia tourism industry but the best is yet to come".
Minister Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie was speaking Thursday during a press briefing organised by Ngala Lodge in collaboration with the Gambia Tourism Board on their award from the Trip Advisor Travellers' Choice Award 2013. The Lodge emerged fourth position in 'Trip Advisor Travellers' Choice Award 2013 in the Romance Category.
Answering questions from reporters, Minister Jobe-Njie said the sector's success in 2012 was due to the support of the stakeholders in the industry. She said they have made 2012 one of the best as the number of arrivals rose by over 51 percent. "And we have seen increases in demand in terms of arrival of aviations," she remarked.
She continued: "The positive results achieved in 2012 are as a result of His Excellency's [President Jammeh] support because he is the number one promoter of tourism in the country. He advocates for peace not only in The Gambia but all over the world." She added that it is because of the peace and tranquillity that exists in the country that people are now looking forward to come to destination Gambia.
"I feel the best is yet to come in the industry because 2013 winter season will be better than 2012 because everybody is eyeing The Gambia for the reason that the country is peaceful and safe," she stated.
Considering the fact that more visitors are looking forward to coming to The Gambia, the Tourism minister appealed to the private sector to invest in accommodation to avoid the constraint of over booking.
She described the River Gambia as a 'gem of the country', saying that the potential for river transportation is not fully exploited. "To sort this out people are needed to invest in cruise ships, water sports facilities among other things in order to make the going around in The Gambia a little more easier," she remarked. She urged Gambians to invest more in tourism.
The Tourism minister acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of her ministry's partners as she thanked the aviation, staff of her ministry, Gambia Tourism Board, other stakeholders and the media for making the year 2012 a success.