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 CAN GAMBIAN TOURISM SURVIVE AFTER COVID-19 ...?

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Momodou Posted - 08 Apr 2020 : 09:51:29
CAN GAMBIAN TOURISM SURVIVE AFTER COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

PART 1. SUMMARISE

BY SHEIKH A TEJAN NYANG , TOURISM CONSULTANT.


In January 2020, the World was taken on by a human respiratory disease pandemic, Covid-19 caused by a new virus called corona virus. This has spread across the globe and represents an unprecedented challenge faced by mankind. The number of cases has reached 1million worldwide by April with about 65000 deaths; large proportion being at USA and several European countries. The African region has had 5263 confirmed cases and 164 deaths, a small percentage of the current global burden although this may unfortunately increase in the next few weeks/months.

A major worldwide measure to combat the spread of Covid-19 is a lock-down policy culminating in the stoppage of travels and movements. The length of the lock-down is bound to affect the economies of countries, which has predicted a worst recession than the 2012 global economic downturn.
In The Gambia the economic impact of the pandemic will be mirrored severely in the tourism sector.

The Tourism, Hospitality and Allied sectors are a vital industry that consists of many businesses which offer services that are complimentary in nature and employ thousands of people. There are five characteristics that signify the importance of tourism. Due to these five basic characteristics tourism creates demand, fulfils that demand, increases consumption and brings growth and development to the country and the economy. These five factors are:

- Tourism activity creates demand

- Tourism industry value chain meets & spreads demand across industries & boosts more economic activities

- Tourism requires country's wholesome development

- Motivates to reach Global Standards

- Tourism induces more consumption

In the recent past the industry was already had hit by two previous devastating events namely the folding of Thomas Cook sage in November 2019 and the 3 years “ jotna “ political scare in The Gambia in December 2019 both having had drastic short and long term effect in the industry .The Covid- 19 came before any strategy was realised to recover from the Thomas Cook and the 3 years “ Jotna “ effects .
The Covid -19 has led to the entire closure of hotels, small and medium size businesses at every level within the industry is having a catastrophic ripple effect, hitting employees and suppliers across the board. The resultant effect of all these events on revenue, employment both direct & indirect, and foreign exchange earnings among others and its impact on the industry is devastating to the country’s economy.
In addition the unprecedented treats caused by the Covid -19 is exacerbated by the attendant of false media offensives , climate catastrophes , bankruptcies of international tour operators and economic slowdown in our source markets which will continue to impact the sector .

In addition, the industry faces unprecedented threats apart from the Covid-19 made up of false media offensives, climate catastrophes, bankruptcies of international tour operators and economic slowdown in our source markets which will continue to impact the sector.


The situation of the industry is very volatile, and the future continues to be uncertain due to the following reasons:

- It is not known how long the global lock-down to contain the virus spread will last hence the reopening or commencement of the tourism season is uncertain..

- The duration it would take International Tour Operators to prepare promotional materials and in effect promote the destination against the backdrop of loses already acquired during lock-down.

- The uncertainty of the destination in making a quick return is doubtful and unpredictable due to the above-named factors.
- The pulling out of FTI the biggest tour operator in our market controlling between 45 to 50 % of our total market. The company operates six flights per week ferrying 875 passengers from all over Europe.
- The company operates two top 5 star hotels namely Kairaba and Coral Beach Hotel which in total employers a total of approximately 500 persons.
- The likely closure of Banjul breweries which employers a total of 150 staff and contributed in 2019 D 220M and a monthly Social Security contribution of D 165,000.

The tourist industry is yet to recover from the Thomas Cook sage which has left a huge outstanding debt amounting to D 350 M owed to Gambian hotels.

The total number of employees in the industry is about 139,000 both direct and indirect. (WTC).This figure includes employees of SMEs in the sector and the informal operators. According to the above table the total contribution to government revenue annually is estimated at D1, 400,029,780. The above figures are those contributed by only members of the Hotel and Tourism associations. There are other operators who are not members of the two organisations mentioned above that have not been accounted for. In addition, information on Social Security contributions, tax on dividends, etc are not included in the matrix above even though cumulatively they constitute a significant amount. Notwithstanding, the overall contribution of the sector is quite significant.

All these key factors need to taken into consideration in ensuring that the industry does not die a natural death without injection of the monitory capital and the required policy reforms put in place .
My question is , can a seasonal tourism industry survive with such huge debts without tax incentives?

* This paper is an extract from a report commissioned by The Gambia Hotel Association and Gambia Tourism & Travels Association. Conducted by Sheikh Tejan Nyang & Kebba Njie .

Look out for part 2.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
toubab1020 Posted - 09 Oct 2020 : 14:54:31
Thanks rassimian,Personally I am more than happy with a soft dronk like Sprite or even better ONJO ,In my opinion the administration MUST give a high priorty to the tourist who come to the smiling coast for the SUN and hospitality enjoyment,THE TOURIST IS A BIG PERCENTAGE OF THE REVENUE to the country.


quote:
Originally posted by rassimian

Just spoken with my friend who runs a local bar in Manjai. She says that it is too expensive to import Julbrew from Senegal so what the locals are drinking is soft drinks or small shots of cheap gin, vodka, rum and any other spirit they can get hold of. The big question is what are restaurants, bars and hotels going to do within the tourist areas. Say 150 to 200 dal for a Julbrew at least, thats £2.50 to £3.50
for a bottle. Still cheaper than in many European countries so it will be about availability rather than price.

rassimian Posted - 09 Oct 2020 : 13:34:25
Just spoken with my friend who runs a local bar in Manjai. She says that it is too expensive to import Julbrew from Senegal so what the locals are drinking is soft drinks or small shots of cheap gin, vodka, rum and any other spirit they can get hold of. The big question is what are restaurants, bars and hotels going to do within the tourist areas. Say 150 to 200 dal for a Julbrew at least, thats £2.50 to £3.50
for a bottle. Still cheaper than in many European countries so it will be about availability rather than price.
toubab1020 Posted - 09 Oct 2020 : 00:18:09
Just for my own interest is the "Senegal" Julbrew sold on the Banjul Brewery's site,it was almost certain that this would be the outcome


quote:
Originally posted by rassimian

JULBREW now available in the Gambia exported from Senegal at 1950 dal a case making it about 150 dal a bottle. For European tourists 'nuff said' Me I only drink Malta !

rassimian Posted - 08 Oct 2020 : 20:29:16
JULBREW now available in the Gambia exported from Senegal at 1950 dal a case making it about 150 dal a bottle. For European tourists 'nuff said' Me I only drink Malta !
toubab1020 Posted - 08 Oct 2020 : 18:03:14



https://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/headlines/ttag-warns-opening-airport-alone-wont-bring-tourists



Oct 8, 2020, 11:07 AM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu
Liane Sallah, chairperson of Tourism and Travel Association of the Gambia (TTAG), said in an interview with this medium that ‘tourists coming to the destination Gambia have nothing to do with the airport opening as everything have to do with how The Gambia as a country is dealing with covid-19.”

“This is because everything needs to do with how many people that are infected, how many people are sick, how is the coronavirus developing in the country – is it going down or up? So opening an airport doesn’t make tourist chartered flights come-in because of the situation which is not only here but world over,” she expressed.

According to her, hence destination Gambia “is still in Code Orange, tourists will not come because in Code Orange countries, insurance companies will not cover any tourists to come (travel). This means tourist flights are cancelled as long as Gambia is in Code Orange.”

Yet she noted that “when destination Gambia goes back to Code Yellow then the country will be accessible; therefore, we need to do better by continuing and adhere to the preventive guidelines.”

She hopes the country’s Code Orange might change soon as the cases of infected people are going down.

Dilating further on the codes, Mrs. Sallah explained that if The Gambia is out of Code Orange “we are getting chance of tourists wanting to come but we also have to bear in mind that tourists that are expecting to visit the destination during the season are usually the Europeans from United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia, Belgium. Those countries at this point in time are facing Code Orange in Red.”

So, “when they are facing Code Orange in Red you are not even allowed to travel.” This she classified as dilemma – meaning The Gambia is having a serious problem but if “Gambia can get out of Code Orange I think we need to focus more marketing in Africa itself,” she stressed.

She expounded that in Africa, there are people who like to travel “so there is need to look at the air access from those countries and start focusing on that instead of focusing on Europe because we now have a chance to focus on other source markets.”

The current situation, she said, has large effect on the industry in terms of flight that are not coming, restaurants and bars not open, suppliers to the hotels not getting order and not making any sale.

“Every business is suffering; the pandemic has created lots of damages on the economy which is now going through a big punching. Companies are struggling for survival especially if you are not getting any relief,” she said.

Mrs. Sallah therefore called on government to open all closed businesses now, which include restaurants, bars, hotels, among others “to enable owners keep the businesses and make ends meet.”

She argued that if market places where there is no door or somebody to monitor activities of people with regards to Covid-19 rules and regulation such as social distancing, use of facemasks in the market, washing of hands and use of hand sanitiser among others “definitely there is no need for censorship and closing of other businesses from activities.”

“It doesn’t make any sense to open market places and continue to close restaurants and hotels. Because you cannot control market but you can control restaurants, bars and hotels. So it is not correct to continue closing them because they have families to feed too.”
toubab1020 Posted - 11 Sep 2020 : 16:55:25
====================================================

https://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/headlines/bah-defends-controversial-statement


=========================================================

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
BIG Snippet:

Whatever, he assured that they will bring tourism back from its dead situation to life especially now that arrangements are at the final stages to resume the tourism session in the upcoming winter tourism season starting October.

However, the Tourism and Culture minister’s statement becomes much talked-about after an interview with one of the online platforms, The Fatu Network, following his decision that the entire GTBoard staff should ‘stay at home’ and they ‘will be paid half salary’ because ‘tourism is dead.’

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
MY persional opinion is that tourists will think twice if they ore "FORCED" to pay the recently thought up money making scheme of $40 US by the "Immigration Security System Levy at Banjul International Airport " Gambia NOW appears not to want to attract tourists to the Smiling Coast by offering excellent value for money.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sep 11, 2020, 11:19 AM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu
The minister of Tourism and Culture has defended his statement in which he said “tourism is dead” in the face of coronavirus pandemic in The Gambia – a statement widely viewed as controversial.

Hamat N.K. Bah made the statement barely a month after the destination recorded its first coronavirus pandemic case which has caused many countries to close their borders, and locked down travel and tourism spaces around the world.

The Gambia closed all its borders and airspace from all flights except for medical cargo flights on 23 March 2020 to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country.

This statement, according to many stakeholders is controversial and being declared too soon. Also, many claimed that tourism sector in The Gambia, in the past, has witnessed different obstacles which include Ebola pandemic, the political impasse and the close down of Thomas Cook Group among others.

However, Mr. Bah, in an interview defended this statement, saying “we said it was dead because nothing was happening.”

He said had it been he didn’t say that by now many of the stakeholders would be having issues with their creditors who would have been knocking on their doors to collect their monies.

“If I didn’t say that, the creditors would start asking for the debts owed them by their debtors and banks could follow them and possibly close their businesses since they owe them,” Minister Bah explained.

He explained further that “there are some statements (actions taken) that one can say or said that ordinary man outside there might not know or understand, but having good implication in other aspects of it, that’s the situation.”

Whatever, he assured that they will bring tourism back from its dead situation to life especially now that arrangements are at the final stages to resume the tourism session in the upcoming winter tourism season starting October.

However, the Tourism and Culture minister’s statement becomes much talked-about after an interview with one of the online platforms, The Fatu Network, following his decision that the entire GTBoard staff should ‘stay at home’ and they ‘will be paid half salary’ because ‘tourism is dead.’
toubab1020 Posted - 27 Aug 2020 : 13:28:59
Ahhhhhh.....it's politics yet again !!! You cannot please everbody all the time.
=====================================================================
https://standard.gm/minister-defends-plans-to-open-tourist-season/
======================================================================
By Alagie Manneh on August 26, 2020

Tourism minister Hamat Bah has jumped to the defense of his ministry’s plans to open the tourist season in October, telling critics of the idea to “talk their talk while we walk our walk”.

The ministry came under attack on social media after it announced Monday strategies to resume the 2020/21 tourist season. Critics of the idea said the ministry failed to put into consideration the country’s battle with Covid-19, while others argued that it is pointless to subject tourists most of whom come for two-week holiday to 14-day mandatory quarantine.

But responding, Minister Bah said the faultfinders have failed to understand the concept behind his initiative. He said he expected them to know better.

“Covid-19 protocols are not written in the bible,” he stated, adding that they are subject to changes.

Minister Bah said the October plan was designed in the hope that regulations surrounding Covid-19 would be relaxed before the months to the proposed plans.

“We don’t expect any tourist to come here and spend 14 days in quarantine. The two weeks will not be applicable by the time we reach October. The right people, the genuine Gambians contacted us and we explained everything. That is what we expected,” he stated.

The outspoken minister warned people to be mindful of the statements they make online and in public spaces in order to “preserve and protect the country’s good image”.

“Those who sit in their rooms and speak on tribal sentiments, I hope they will never succeed,” he prayed, without elaborating.

“Let’s protect and preserve and support this country. It’s not about OJ or Halifa, it’s about The Gambia. It’s sometimes very scary.”



Silver lining in Covid battle

The minister proclaimed that The Gambia can in fact defeat Covid-19 if it does everything right.

“It is no longer containment; it is now management. The virus is already here but together, we can defeat Covid-19. Yes, The Gambia can defeat Covid-19 with.”
toubab1020 Posted - 26 Aug 2020 : 13:54:02
Totally agree

quote:
Originally posted by rassimian

Unfortunately this approach, however covid 19 protective it seems is not going to endear many people to take a holiday in the Gambia. In the first instance it seems to rule out the 'one week trip' that many airlines/travel companies used to promote.( at this point in time I am not sure who will be flying Brits to Gambia when the tourist season is officially declared open) Maybe Gambia Experience and if you want you could travel Brussels Airlines. Secondly, what about a 2 week trip then! Seems like you would have to spend that time in a hotel and pay for it.(would that would not be a hotel of your choice but a designated 'quarantine hotel') What about those travellers like myself who go to the Gambia for at least one or two months and live in Gambian compounds.
rassimian Posted - 26 Aug 2020 : 12:50:55
Unfortunately this approach, however covid 19 protective it seems is not going to endear many people to take a holiday in the Gambia. In the first instance it seems to rule out the 'one week trip' that many airlines/travel companies used to promote.( at this point in time I am not sure who will be flying Brits to Gambia when the tourist season is officially declared open) Maybe Gambia Experience and if you want you could travel Brussels Airlines. Secondly, what about a 2 week trip then! Seems like you would have to spend that time in a hotel and pay for it.(would that would not be a hotel of your choice but a designated 'quarantine hotel') What about those travellers like myself who go to the Gambia for at least one or two months and live in Gambian compounds. It feels as if in desperation the Gambian govt. and tourist board are seeking any way possible to re-open the tourist industry. I for one would not go under those conditions which also include wearing a mask. Where's the enjoyment in having such a holiday? Maybe better to wait until the covid situation is more under control and these conditions of travel can be relaxed.
toubab1020 Posted - 24 Aug 2020 : 21:05:07
IMPORTANT SNIPPET:

"The ministry said all passengers must apply sanitiser before embarkation, all passengers will provide a negative Covid-19 test that is within 72 hours before departure, all passengers must pay all expenses for their 14-day quarantine at government designated hotels as part of their ticket cost."

Hmmmmmmmmm ............These 4* and above * hotels are lovely no doubt about that if you only have a 2 week holiday you will never be able to see the REAL Gambia





==========================================================
https://standard.gm/govt-to-open-tourist-season-in-october/
============================================================
By Omar Bah August 24, 2020

The Ministry of Tourism has announced plans to open the 2020/21 tourist season in October but not without conditions to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“The Gambia depending on advice from the Ministry of Health on the rate of Covid-19 infection in the country is ready to open and operate the forth coming season as a very safe destination for clients in October,” the ministry said in a correspondence to stakeholders obtained by The Standard.

The ministry said all issues of health and safety must be adhered to by the entire leisure and hospitality industry in general; and hotels and restaurants in particular, prior to the commencement of the season.

“The Gambia, like all nations is facing the significant challenges posed to us all by the Covid-19 Pandemic. We remain vigilant and persistent in all efforts to surmount this universal trial. The aforementioned are in alignment and compliance with the WHO guidelines for hotel and leisure establishments,” the ministry added.



Guidelines

The ministry said all passengers must apply sanitiser before embarkation, all passengers will provide a negative Covid-19 test that is within 72 hours before departure, all passengers must pay all expenses for their 14-day quarantine at government designated hotels as part of their ticket cost.

“All passengers must be informed by the airline of the quarantine guidelines of the ministry of health during purchase of tickets, relevant teams of MOH should receive all the information of the flight including number of passengers and places of embarkation, nationality of the passengers, expected date and time of arrival, all passengers will be wearing a mask whiles coming down,” the ministry said.

Also all passengers should sign a form to show readiness to undergo quarantine, the passengers must be screen for fever and symptoms of Covid-19 before entering the immigration area and all drivers attempting to cross the border must show a certified negative test results for Covid-19 obtained in the last 72 hours before arrival.

“All drivers entering the country should have spare driver. Each hotel is required to have public health officer to serve as an infection prevention and control officer working in continuous coordination with the ministry of health, all hotels and resorts shall be responsible for ensuring the availability and use of WHO approved personal protective equipment and sterilisation material.

“All hotels are obligated to provide PPEs for employees and guests, all casinos can operate with 50% of capacity, ensuring use of face masks and physical distancing, hotels should he committed to using a maximum of 50% of the workforce, workers returning from vacations should quarantine for 14 days, all hotel staff shall be subject to routine screening and testing by officials of the Ministry of Health.”

The ministry also extended government’s committed to a continued partnership with their valued partners in the operation of the 2020/21 tourist season.

“We are cognisant of your ongoing promotion and marketing of The Gambia as a destination of choice for your clientele. We definitely appreciate your unfaltering confidence, and would like to take this opportunity to reassure you of our support in helping you reach your operational goals in the Winter Season,” the ministry noted.
toubab1020 Posted - 21 Aug 2020 : 16:21:53
I like your idea BUT will the politicians realese the money for it to get off the ground, I suspect that AGRO processing plantswill not be cheap to construct I do remember a few years ago big scheme to export Mangoes,did that ever materilise?
===================================================

quote:
Originally posted by jammin

quote:
Originally posted by toubab1020

It is well known that Gambia is a TAX based economy,the contents of the above posting appear to have forgotten that fact one example,

"Taxes

• Waive all taxes and fiscal charges for 12 months that affects cash flow which can be critical to business survival, such as corporate and income taxes for 2020 and 2021.

• Provide duty waivers for imports for the 2020/2021 season "


here is an alternative course of action. use the monies that would have been lost in tax and duty waivers and channel it into light manunufacturing plants, which would absorb the employment fallout from tourism. Allow the hotel industry to 'naturally reconfigure itself' too many players are in the sector right now. farmers crops could then be handled by these light agro-processing plants.

jammin Posted - 21 Aug 2020 : 02:04:21
quote:
Originally posted by toubab1020

It is well known that Gambia is a TAX based economy,the contents of the above posting appear to have forgotten that fact one example,

"Taxes

• Waive all taxes and fiscal charges for 12 months that affects cash flow which can be critical to business survival, such as corporate and income taxes for 2020 and 2021.

• Provide duty waivers for imports for the 2020/2021 season "


here is an alternative course of action. use the monies that would have been lost in tax and duty waivers and channel it into light manunufacturing plants, which would absorb the employment fallout from tourism. Allow the hotel industry to 'naturally reconfigure itself' too many players are in the sector right now. farmers crops could then be handled by these light agro-processing plants.
Momodou Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 14:10:26
Reply to toubab1020 from Mr. Nyang:

quote:
My reply is as follows :
Business is give and take but considering the significant contribution the sector play into our economy , it is either to provide these incentives to the sector or loose most of the key players who would declare bankcrupcy.



Momodou Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 11:52:59
Good points! I will forward your comment to the author.



toubab1020 Posted - 16 Apr 2020 : 20:17:28
It is well known that Gambia is a TAX based economy,the contents of the above posting appear to have forgotten that fact one example,

"Taxes

• Waive all taxes and fiscal charges for 12 months that affects cash flow which can be critical to business survival, such as corporate and income taxes for 2020 and 2021.

• Provide duty waivers for imports for the 2020/2021 season "




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