The Director of Marketing, Gambia Tourism Board, Adama Njie has emphasized the importance of attending the annual AKWAABA African Travel Market and the pivotal role it plays in the growth of tourism in The Gambia. Njie made this known in an interview with thepoint.gm, an online media recently.

According to Njie who was on the three-man panel that deliberated on “The Role of DMCs and DMOs in Sustainable Destination Marketing in Africa” at the 14th AKWAABA African Travel Market in 2018, statistics between 2015 and 2018 show that air arrivals for the Nigerian market into The Gambia had gone up by 39% in 2018. This represents the highest total increase margin following the country’s return to participate in the biggest international travel & tourism trade show in West Africa.

Njie stated further that among non-traditional markets arrival for 2018 (Jan – Dec), the figures went up to 77,109 from 63,492 for 2017 arrivals (Jan – Dec), representing an increase of 21%, with the Nigerian and American markets topping the list of arrivals by nationalities in 2018.

There was significant decrease in the number of arrivals from Nigeria following the absence of Destination Gambia, Njie noted, “but The Gambia rejoining the AKWAABA African Travel Market is now a plus to the country as we are gradually picking up again.”  

Speaking elsewhere, the organiser of AKWAABA African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko commended the Gambia Ministry of Tourism & Culture and tourism board for taking the bold step to reconnect with AKWAABA African Travel Market in 2018. He disclosed that there are six popular events that are dominant and have brand equity in West Africa and The Gambia with its brand equity has an opportunity to occupy its space as far as tourism is concern in West Africa.

The six popular events, according to Uko are: Senegal’s Dak’Art (visual arts), FESPACO in Burkina Faso (movies), PANAFEST for culture in Ghana; AKWAABA (tourism) and Carnival Calabar both in Nigeria, and the ROOTS Homecoming Festival in The Gambia (with the next edition slated for December 2020).

The Gambia is the smallest mainland country on the continent and it is affectionately referred to as the Smiling Coast of Africa. Director General of The Gambia Tourism Board, Abdoullahi Hydara will lead a strong team of stakeholders from the country to the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market which will take place September 22 – 24, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & suites, Victoria Island. The Gambia Day takes place on Monday Sept. 23, 2019 from 11:30am.