By Sailu Bah
Bookings for Kombo Beach Hotel have dropped by less than 50%, which management attributes to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
This was revealed by Marc Van Maldegem, General Manager Kombo beach hotel in an interview with this paper on Friday 5th December 2014 at his office.Mr. Maldegem said the tourism season has drastically gone down due to the scare attributed abroad to the Ebola outbreak. He revealed that this time last year his hotel was fully booked compared to this year which is below 50%. He explained that this current situation is affecting all the businesses in the tourism sector such as the tourist Taxi drivers, Craft market men and women, vegetable sellers and many other people.
He opined that business nowadays is not good; that even though tourists are not coming as usual they are still spending on their operational expenses. He also said electricity takes the chunk of their expenses. “If there is no business, it will not be easy to meet your operational cost. Some of our seasonal staff is still not employed due to the low business and many of those are family men. This will affect both the family and the individual workers,” he informed the paper.
Mr. Maldegem, the General Manager of Kombo beach hotel said they as a hotel through the hotel association have once forwarded their concerns to the minister of Tourism, but he said that the minister promised to consider them. He also said if in case the government should consider the current situation of their business they should waive tax for them, which will make it easier and much better for them to be able to meet their cost of operations. He expressed hope that things would change by January if not it would affect them a lot.
He said some of the countries whose flights are cancelled have caused big losses to them because he said this is depriving them of a significant part of their share in the tourism business. He said they are trying their utmost to use the few tourists they have as ambassadors to convince others to come to the Gambia to make things better.
Foroyaa is very much concerned about this issue and shall continue discussing with stakeholders involved in the Tourism sector.
By Sailu Bah