Gambia's tourism and culture has been rated as the best performing sector in terms of implementation of the National Development Plan, permanent secretary at Ministry of Tourism and culture has disclosed.
Codou Linguere Jabang made the remark at the laying foundation stones for the construction of both Jimara Eco Tourism Park in Kunkilling Eco Tourism Forest Park in Central River Region and Fulladu Tourism Camp at Sotuma Samba in the Upper River Region which was presided over by Minister Hamat NK Bah.
According to Mrs. Jabang, all the two periodic reviews of the NDP, Tourism and Culture sector have come out as the best performing sector.
She said that is evident in the increase in tourism arrivals from 2017/2018 tourist season, the revival of the Janjangbureh Kankurang Festival, and the digitisation of the NCAC Oral Archives, as well as the revamping of the curricula of The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute.
"We owe this success largely to the solid team of professionals who have been working to achieve success, despite the recurring issue of under funding for the sector," she noted.
She assured that the eco-lodges will boost tourism arrivals, tap high value market segments and contribute to jobs and economic diversification in the sector. "More jobs will be created for our youth in the rural areas and skills acquisition for young people in hospitality."
According to her, GTHI will facilitate training and opportunities in each region so that the needed human resource to run the eco-lodges professionally will be readily available and not imported from the Greater Banjul Area.
Mrs. Jabang informed stakeholders that the facility is being built in Janjangbureh (McCarthy), for its rich tradition of Kankurang, and its numerous sites of historic and cultural interest such as Armitage School and the Freedom Triangle.
She said in since 2017, NCAC has worked with the European Union funded Youth Empowerment Project to revive the Kankurang Masking Festival; a festival now recognized as a veritable tourism product in rural Gambia.