Multimillion dalasis craft markets commissioned
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The minister of Youth and Sport, Sheriff Gomez, yesterday morning, on behalf of The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, officially commissioned the multimillion dalasis Bungalow Beach Craft Market, at a ceremony held at the premises of the new complex in Kotu.
BB craft market is among three, the others being the Bakau and Sunwing craft markets, which have been built or rehabilitated by The Gambia Tourism Authority (GTA) under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, at a tune of seven million, eight hundred and fifty seven thousand dalasis (D7, 857, 0000).
The government, through the Ministry of Finance, according to officials, contributed five million, six hundred and fifty six thousand, three hundred and eight dalasis (D5,656,308). The craft market comprises 42 stalls, with the capacity to accommodate 149 vendors, of which a hundred are women. The facility also has two toilet blocks.
In his keynote speech, Minister Gomez told the gathering that July 22nd has become an important day in the history of the country as it marks the evolution of The Gambia under President Jammeh. Global trends in tourism development, according to the minister, are constantly changing to meet the demands of new and more sophisticated type of tourists, who are yearning to experience new things with a high taste for quality. "Therefore, if The Gambia is to compete and position herself firmly in this dynamic business of tourism, it is prudent that we should strive to craft new products and improve on the existing ones to meet the ever changing taste of discerning travellers and visitors to our beautiful country," remarked the Youth and Sports minister.
The Gambia, he indicated, is already a renowned tourist destination which attracts a large number of tourists annually, and has all necessary features to become the distinctive tourism destination envisioned in the Vision 2020. The market, he added, will not only complement government's poverty alleviation efforts in terms of enhancing employment opportunities for Gambian youths and women, "but it would also go a long way in adding value to our tourism product."
For her part, Nancy Njie, the minister of Tourism and Culture, said for over 20 years the people of this market had waited for this but to no avail. But she noted with delight the fact that it is a different story today. Minister Njie maintained that to remain competitive in this region there is the need to get the products right. "We must have the right facilities and standards. The new Gambia calls for new attitudes and new products," she stated, while commending President Jammeh for putting up a strong team to deliver the right products to the tourism industry. Minister Nancy Njie spoke about the contribution of women to national development, expressing delight about the fact that out of the 149 vendors at the market, the women occupy at least one hundred stalls.
Alieu Mboge, chairman, GTA board of directors, who doubles as the director general of The Gambia Groundnut Corporation, said the construction of this market is in line with the policy of creating a conducive environment for the locals to showcase enterprise and other skills to the delight of the visitors in the tourism industry.
The project, he added, is a real success as it has demonstrated what can be achieved through local enterprise, talent and expertise. Mboge went: "It could be recalled that, His Excellency, the president of the Republic, in one of his spot checks of the Tourism Development Area (TDA), discovered the eye sore that this place was (the terrible structures), when he immediately gave directives for its total overhaul." "It is in line with sustainable tourism development and our efforts to empower the youths and women of this country.
This ideals detail neatly into the spirit of the July 22nd Revolution in terms of fostering home grown initiatives and nurturing self-reliance," underscored the chairman of the GTA board of directors. The occasion, which was moderated by the acting director general of The Gambia Tourism Authority, Momodou S Jobe, was characterised by a display of cultural performances. After commissioning the edifice on be half of President Jammeh, the Youth and Sports minister and other ministers were led on a conducted tour of the facility.
Bakau craft market commissioned Later in the day, the Tourism and Culture minister, Nancy Njie, also presided over the commissioning of Bakau Craft Market, located next to the Bakau Community Center. The craft market will serve as a tourist attraction due to its strategic location. A complete overhauling of the market was done after it became extremely dilapidated. The present facility is fitted with reliable water and electricity supplies. The ceremony, which was characterised by cultural performances by young Gambian artists and Kayong Kalong, was also attended by other cabinet members.
Author: by Hatab Fadera & Amadou Jallow