Drivers urge GT Board to intensify efforts for more tourist arrivals

Sailu Bah
Tourist taxi drivers at the Senegambia area are calling on the Gambia Tourism Tourist TaxisBoard (GTB) to make every possible effort to ensure the arrival of more tourists in the country in the face of the Ebola outbreak in some countries in the sub-region.
These stakeholders in the tourism industry made this call on Thursday, 20thNovember 2014, when this reporter visited that part of the Tourism Development Area (TDA) to interview the operators vis a vis the 2014-2015 tourist season.
Alasan Conteh, a tourist taxi driver who has been in the industry for the past 25 years, said the season is yet to pick up with more tourists expected.
He expressed his fear that this may be due to the Ebola outbreak in some of the countries in the sub-region, even though the Gambia is yet to register a single case of Ebola.
He called on the GT Board to do everything it can to convince prospective visitors to come to The Gambia.
“If the situation continues like this without any improvement, we will be facing a lot of difficulties in sustaining our families. We always sit here the whole day without a single trip,” disclosed Conteh.
He explained that he is married with four children, three of whom are going to school.
“According to GT Board, they have been conducting sensitization programmes in Europe and other countries to motivate tourists to come to the Gambia, but this should be intensified to ensure more arrivals,” suggested Pa Ousman Njie, another tourist taxi driver.
He said the authorities should also consider other issues such as encouraging operators to offer varieties of service and products to visitors that have repeatedly visited the country. “Some tourists have been coming here for the five past years and are always offered the same attractions. There is need to offer different and new things to tourists so that they will continue coming,” he added.
Some official tourist guides also raised similar concerns regarding the negative impact that a poor tourist season may have on their livelihoods.