Stakeholders in The Gambia Tourism Industry Sunday confirmed an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and related sectors by Gambia Bureau of Statistics have shown that during the months of April to June, an overall amount of GMD6.7 billion was reported by all establishments as the forecast loss.
This is contained in a press release issued by the Gambia Hotel Association and the Tourism and Travel Association of The Gambia.
The media release said: “Moreover, in a recently concluded Rapid Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism and Related Sectors by GBOS, it is reported that during the months of April to June, an overall amount of GMD6.7 billion was reported by all establishments as the forecast loss during the period under review. The hotels have reported a combined loss of GMD6.4 billion during the period, which relates to about 95 per cent of the total loss. Camps have a combined forecast loss of D15 million, Lodges and Eco Lodges reported a forecast loss of GMD7.7 million and GMD5.7 million respectively.”
Concerned with these hard hitting realities that have economic and financial implications, the members of the Gambia Hotel Association chaired by Mrs Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie and the Tourism & Travel Association of the Gambia chaired by Mrs Liane Sallah are calling on The Gambia government to introduce measures that would provide effective support to the industry.
“It is heart-breaking that the livelihoods of thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to the Hotel, Travel and Allied sectors are being decimated; from waiters to taxi drivers, room attendants to cleaners, chefs to receptionist.
Hotels, Tour Operators, Restaurants, Suppliers and Employees (over 100,000) are just a few of the hardest hit that suffer the most immediate repercussions, as the outbreak is occurring during the winter months, the busiest travel season. The tourism industry over the past decade has intermittently been confronted with many external shocks such as the 2008 credit crunch, the outbreak of Ebola, the 2016 political impasse, the “Three Years Jotna”, the Thomas Cook Saga and now the Covid-19. All these catastrophes will continue to impact tourism in the Gambia for many years to come.
At present most of our hotels are saddled with unsettled invoices from Tour Operators amounting to over D350 million dating back to December 2019,” they added.
GHA and TTAG commissioned a report on the impact of COVID-19 on the Tourism, Hospitality and Allied Sectors in March 2020, in which they proposed a five-point plan for government to take and combat the devastating effect of Covid-19, this include immediate intervention from government, financing, taxes, employee support, licences and municipality rates.
As a matter of urgency, the two associations are demanding from government to factor the tourism, hospitality and allied sectors in any emergency funds received from donors with immediate recovery assistance.