What tourists like in The Gambia
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
In this week's edition of our Tourisphere, Lotte Petersen, area manager, Thomas Cook Northern Europe, in a chat said, 'tourism industry worldwide should expect a decrease in numbers of travellers.'
Tourisphere: Can you tell us about Thomas Cook service to tourism industry and how long TCNE has been operating in The Gambia? Lotte: Thomas Cook Northern Europe's Swedish tour operator introduced The Gambia to the Swedish market 43 years ago. A few years later the Danish tour operator Spies started flying clients to the country from Denmark.
Tourisphere: How does TCNE as an international tour operator operate?
Lotte: Thomas Cook has offices in various countries and sends clients from these countries to destinations within the Thomas Cook program. A local operator would usually handle in-coming tourism or perhaps be selling holidays to other countries as well, but not operate in other countries with own offices as i.e. Thomas Cook and TUI do.
Tourisphere: Is TCNE planning new services for customers in coming season ?
Lotte: Due to the worldwide economical situation in which we're all doing our best to adapt to, we're not planning on new things.
Tourisphere: Do you foresee growth in the visitors coming into The Gambia through Thomas Cook Northern Europe next tourist season compare to the current season?
Lotte: I don't think we'll see growth in most destinations. I think we're to expect a decrease in numbers of travellers on a worldwide basis.
Tourisphere: what is the latest trend in The Gambia travel and tourism industry?
Lotte: I think we've seen this season that many operators struggle to get the travelers to The Gambia; they sold at a price that can give a positive result. Clients look for "bargains" and go where the price is right for their economics. Also, Eco-travel - It isn't just about the destination or hotels watching anymore as more and more travel companies are thinking outside of the box to address consumers' concerns with eco-friendly initiatives designed to reduce their carbon footprint.
Tourisphere: What is your observation about the industry in The Gambia?
Lotte: The Gambia is like the rest of the world, in for a hard battle when it comes to tourism. Tourist won't come easy the next season beit here or elsewhere.
Tourisphere: What is it that tourists from Northern Europe like about the Gambia?
Lotte: The climate is one of the main factors, the beaches and of course the atmosphere and friendly people (their hospitality).
Tourisphere: How do you think GTA and others in the tourism industry can improve on their services ?
Lotte: I know the GTA is working on several forms of actions. I believe it's important we all keep an open dialogue between us and discuss what the problems are and try to solve them. It is important that action plans are taken seriously and action is taken accordingly. We can't afford to sit back and watch.
Tourisphere: What is your personal experience in The Gambia both in the industry and outside the tourism industry?
Lotte: I've had a lot of great experiences in The Gambia. Still a lot of things can be done to improve the environment.
Author: By Yunus Saliu