Tourist Development Area
What does the TDA mean in Gambia?
short it is the area of land along from the coastline
which has a width of about 800 metres. It is set aside by the
Gambia Government for present and future tourist developments.
Generally residential land in this area cannot be purchased by
private individuals to build houses. Any proposed commercial developments
such as hotels and bars usually have to pass through the
The current use of land is specifically based on the planned coastal
zone which is the Tourism Development Area. In 1970, the TDA was
legally designated under Ministry
of Local Government and Kombo North / South District Authority
Act as a mile zone along the Atlantic coast reaching from Kotu
river down Tanji River
initially and subsequently extending it up to the Gambia
River on the Atlantic side.
Thus, the TDA covers almost the entire Southern coast of the Gambia.
This legal designation of TDA
has facilitated the Tourism Liaison Board (TLB) now the Tourism
Area Development Board all developments so far and it is emphasized
that designation TDA as a planning Area in future should enable
the authorities not only to control land use but also to protect
the wildlife and nature of the TDA.
The Bafuloto Plan of 1973 is still
the Basic of all Physical Planning within the TDA. The plan aim
to promote the development of Atlantic coast of the Gambia for
the dual purpose of tourism
and urban development. The area along the coastline
with an average depth of 800 meters
is reserved for resort and related development whilst the area
in land from the coast and separated from it by a Highway (Kombo
Coastal Road and the Bertil Harding Highway) is planned for
urban improvement and expansion.
The main idea behind the general plan for TDA is to distinguish
two different types of tourists zones along the coast. The northern
zones, where the main tourist development shall take place within
clearly defined areas such as Kotu and Bijilo
and later the Brufut area, and the southern
zone, where there would be only small "Tourist sport"
for excursions and short time visits.
No further Physical development of tourist area is envisaged in
the Southern zone. Based on the latest forecasts as well as the
actual growth of tourist and also on the assumption that tourism
will grow faster in the future, a study made by GTZ short team
expert on the TDA in 1989 has concluded that the Northern Zone
alone can adequately meet the demands for hotel beds in the future.
This affords the opportunity to preserve the Southern Zone as
a nature park of unique beauty untouched by the adverse affects
of tourists developments. The proposed nature park South Coast
will provide a far greater attraction for the tourism in The Gambia
than a multitude of half furnisher hotel-sites dotted along the
whole coaster strip.
Tourism Development with specific reference to the Tourism Development
Mr Alkali E. CONTEH:
When tourism started in the Gambia in 1965, only 300 tourists
hailing from Scandinavia spent their holiday on our beaches. The
following year, the number rose to 528. The industry which was
introduced by foreign business interest, was encouraged by the
1) a stable democratic government;
2) a policy design to attract foreign capital through tax incentives
and duty waivers on imports;
3) high rates of return on investments;
4) a favourable climate and
The industry became so successful that by 1970, existing facilities
became overstretched, creating the need for more basic infrastructure.
Consequently in 1972 the area
stretching from Cape Point to Kololi
(and later extended to Brufut / Kartong
as well as Barra Point) was designated
a Tourism Development Area.
This TDA is formed by coastal stripped of some 750 to 800 m in
In 1972 the above area was designated
a TDA a Tourism Liaison Board
was set up comprising of:
Ministry for Local Government and Lands;
Physical Planning Officer; Land Officer;
Deputy Secretary General;
Ministry of Agriculture;
The TLB was charged with the responsibility of advising the Minister
of State responsible for tourism on such matters as tourism legislation,
tourism security and land use policy in tourism.
In respect of the latter, the Board was charged with the task
of preparing draft for tourism related projects.
Therefore between 1975 and 1981, this Board among others accomplished
the preparation and implementation of the planning and building
regulations for TDA;
the development access roads;
the provision of water and electricity;
the identification and construction of beach facilities.
In November 1987, Cabinet agreed to a proposal to change the name
of the Tourism Liaison Board to the present Tourism Area Development
Board (TADB) with a reconstituted membership consisting of the
||Ministry of Information & Tourism (Chairman);
||Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government & Lands
||Chief Executive Investment Board;
||Director of Tourism;
||President, Gambia Chamber of Commerce &
||Permanent Secretary, Minister of Trade Industry & Employment;
||Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government &
||Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information & Tourism
The terms of reference of this Board are: 1. To advise the Minister
of Information & Tourism on the management and development
for TDA generally; 2. To consider detailed plans for development
of areas designated as TDA; 3. To receive, consider and advise
the Minister of Information & Tourism on applications from
companies and individuals wishing to be allocated space within
The Board is assisted by a Technical Committee in the processing
of applications for land within the TDA. This Committee (which
has since been disbanded to reduce bureaucratic red-tape and delay
in the processing of applications for land) comprised of the following:
Director of Physical Planning & Housing;
Director of Tourism;
Director of Lands and Surveys;
Director of forestry;
Managing Director - GUC;
Chief Executive NIB.
With regards to the consideration and allocation of land within
the TDA, the Board has set the following requirements and procedures:
1. all applications must provide a business
2. for groups of persons and companies, the must provide an article
of association and a memorandum of incorporation;
3. the presentation of a feasibility study document;
4. a minimum deposit in local bank
of 10% of the total financial cost of the proposed project.
(For further details on the above requirements see Starting
A Business in Gambia)
Upon the fulfilment of these requirements, the Board processes
the application and recommends it for approval. by Ministry
of Tourism. With this assent to the Boards recommendation,
this Minister sends the application to the Minister for Local
Government & Lands for his concurrence. Thereafter the Director
of Lands & Surveys is instructed to convey approval to the
applicant with conditions amongst which is a conservative clause
stipulating the maximum heights of structures and the conservation
of existing floral life as much as possible.
Leasing processes could start immediately after allocation of
land is made but an understanding
has been reached between the two Ministries (i.e. Ministry of
Information & Tourism and Ministry for Local Government &
Lands) that lease should not be granted until after completion
of a significant level of development in respect of civil works
by the applicant. This condition together with the 10% cash deposit
requirement is deter land speculators from acquiring land within
the TDA and converting it as collaterals in their commercial business
transactions or freezing the desired speed of development in the