The tourism industry in Gambia is in its
relative infancy and the country is eager to avoid the errors of
other, older holiday
resorts who saw the negative effects of mass
tourism. There are a number of organisations whose aims & objectives
are to either secure equitable treatment not only for those engaged in tourism but are also concerned about the impacts on local society in
general & the environment.
Furthermore, they are eager that tourists
give something back to the community thus promoting fair, sustainable
tourism practices. A
holiday can be enjoyed while at
the same time being aware of what effects your actions are having
around you and acting like a responsible
poor developing country, like The Gambia, the unemployed youth
especially, become very vulnerable to
exploitation and inappropriate cultural practices
brought about by tourism development. Most hotel
accommodation and tourist
facilities in The Gambia are situated on the beachfront known as the
Tourism Development Area (TDA). Here on the
beaches one find hundreds
of unemployed youngsters hassling tourists or satisfying tourists
desires from appeasing elderly European ladies in their 60s to 70s,
providing drugs, or scouting for prostitutes to performing a more
noble task of guiding tourist attractions. These youngsters
mainly men will do any thing to survive. They are generally referred
to as "beach boys", "professional Friends" or "bumsters".
Measures you can take:
||Avoid using an air-conditioner as much as possible
and use a fan instead.
||Never leave an A/C on when you are out.
||Use a shower instead of a bath & avoid turning on
or leaving on hot water heaters.
||Take all rubbish with you & don't litter.
||Buy only large bottles of drinking
water & use it
all up before buying another.
||Try to visit at least one local
attraction away from the coastal
areas such as Pirang Forest. The
farther away the better. They depend on your cash.
||Never ever feed wild animals & birds. They may
lose fear of humans & be killed later by poachers.
||When shopping try buying from only small local
||Avoid using car transport where possible. If you
have to use one then share one with the locals. Walk or use a
||Try eating out in small local
restaurants so your
tourist money goes into the pockets of local proprietors instead.
||Tip generously as many hotel workers are paid only
about £1.40 per day.
||Don't give money to children. Give them books or
pencils instead. This is because when they take the money home
some parents will encourage them some more and they may become
victims of child predators.
||Show respect local
sacred sites. Learn something about
their local greetings.
||Come on a flight only deal & stay only in an
hotel accommodation that
practices care for the environment. See
top of page
||Come only on a
that has a carbon-offset scheme.
||Your guiding ethical principle should be consider
your daily actions on the environment and people both physical &
cultural then act accordingly.
Tourism Concern, the main organisation that publishes 'Concern
Magazine', commissioned an in-flight video with other UK based
organisations like Voluntary Service Overseas, (VSO), Tourism Concern
and Association Of British Travel Agents, (ABTA). The video is shown
on First Choice flights on Air 2000 to the Gambia and it features
advice for tourists about sensitive tourism issues. By showing a
short, entertaining in-flight video, tour operators can encourage
greater awareness among tourists of the needs and wishes of people in
The Gambia. The hope is that the video will help tourists to be more
responsive to the local environment and its communities.
There is a publication called 'The Good
Tourist' (€4 in EU) a Swedish publication who produce
travel guides for Fair Travel. They claim to offer more than the
traditional travel guides. Apart from the standard information
eating out, local travel and crafts, food
transport, they try to maintain a responsible
vein throughout their guide books by helping for example to
preserve nature & wildlife, protect local cultures as well as
humans without feeling deprived of a holiday experience.
There is an organisation called the Gambia Tourist Support
who offer special membership for tourists which could save you
money. Funds raised by the organisation goes to helping locals
to support their families. GTS is concerned that
should mean tourist income coming into The Gambia should help
the local economy and not be transferred back to the more
developed countries of the West.
What Does Responsible Tourism
mean for Gambia:
It is tourist activity which:
• minimizes the negative
social, environmental and economic effects on The Gambia;
creates economic benefits for people in the host country and improves their
well-being by improving conditions at work and people's avenues to the industry;
• diversifying the holiday experience for tourists through more
meaningful contact with local communities, and to foster a greater understanding
of their cultural, society and environment;
• makes positive improvements to the preservation of the Gambia's
cultural and natural heritage;
actively engaging local people in important decisions that will impact
on their lives and future prospects;
affording greater access for disabled people in
hotels and other types
of accommodation; and finally
is culturally sensitive, musters respect and appreciation between
guest visitors and the host, and establishes local pride,
self-reliance and assurance.
Tourism is playing an increasingly important part in the
development of the sub-region, not only in economic terms but
also in the preservation of its rich
cultural heritage and our
environment. To develop tourism and indeed the whole economy
along sustainable guidelines there has to be consideration of
socio-cultural, environmental and economic principles.
MBOKA Trade Fair
Mboka West African Travel
Market is to be held every October.
It is a
Business-to-Business event to be held in
Banjul. For more information contact:
Musa Dem (MBOKA Fair Committee Coordinator.)
Responsible business practice is
good business and it pays. It is a way of making business not
"just for the money" bottom line but also for taking
responsibility for the positive social and environmental
development of countries we operate in. This is why
The Gambia) and ONITS (of Senegal), supported by tourism
stakeholders and the governments of The Gambia and Senegal,
signed an MOU in November 2006 to promote Responsible Tourism
Development in Senegal and The Gambia. The two associations
pledged to realise this by addressing the triple bottom line of
economic, social and environmental responsibility and by
engaging in product development and marketing. Almost one year
after signing the MOU in Dakar, Mboka 2007 helped make this
pledge a reality by promoting and showcasing the Senegambian
tourism industry at a fare first held in Dakar on the 31st
October, 2007. It now plans to make this an annual event, at
around the end of October each year, to an international audience in the form of an
annual fair to be held in Dakar. It is hoped that this event
will be an international and sub-regional focal point for the
world of tourism trade fairs.
The objectives of the event include showcasing a more developed
and diverse product in order to continue to attract people from established
tourist markets and from new ones. The Mboka Fair Committee is
aware that tourists seek a variety of experiences and that the
traditional sun, sand and sea holiday market is increasingly
competitive and in relative decline. The Senegambian region and its
people have much to offer international visitors and the
organisers of Mboka want to grow the industry in ways, which maximise the benefits (economic, social and environmental) to
the peoples of Senegambia.
It also involves displaying the cultural diversity of both
countries. It is important that along with colleagues in the
originating markets they can develop tourism products which enable
visitors to enjoy the cultural diversity and to have positive
interactions with local communities, sharing something of our
local living culture.
Thirdly the natural environment of The Gambia and Senegal is an
important resource for the tourism industry; it is in the
interest of the industry that it is conserved. The tourism
industry is also a major consumer of natural resources and its
environmental impacts need to be managed, particularly where its
impacts adversely affect other stakeholders. This fair will be
used to showcase environmental sustainability.
Top priority will be given to small-scale tourism enterprises
operating in both countries, community based tourism enterprises
and other indigenous producers who would like to establish links
with the tourism industry for the marketing of their products.
Considerations will also be given to other tourism enterprises
that are owned and run by indigenes of African countries.
Partners and Sponsors
Partners and sponsors are all advocates and practitioners of
Sustainable/Responsible business development in The Gambia and
Senegal in particular and Africa as a whole. Sponsoring such an
event is a way of putting your mark in the development of a
better Africa and also affirming our belief that the destiny of
a prosperous Africa lies in our own hands.
Activities Before and During the Fair
In The Gambia there will be two pre-fair activities in the form
of a Craft competition organised by the Product Development
ASSET to help raise the profile of innovative arts & crafts
for the Dakar fair and a workshop on Responsible Tourism
targeting all participants to the Dakar Tourism fair.