A delegation of 120 travel agents from the Netherlands last Sunday arrived in Destination Gambia on a weeklong familiarisation tour of the country.
The agents, which comprise of travel and tours agents, journalists, amongst others crossed into the country via Senegal. They were received on arrival in Barra by officials of The Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard), led by its Director General Abdoulie Hydara.
The rationale behind this trip is to enable the travel agents to familiarise themselves with the Destination as well as the available tourism products, which is expected to help them promote and sell the Smiling Coast in their country and other parts of Europe.
The team will visit different hotels and resorts, tourist markets, sites, and learn about our tangible and intangible heritages to enable them give positive promotional stories about the Destination in their home countries.
The trip was organised by the TUI Benelux, in collaboration with the GTBoard. TUI Benelux, a Netherlands-based tour operator, has expressed its desire to increase the number of its existing flights to Destination Gambia.
Receiving the agents at the Barra Terminal, Abdoulie Hydara said travel agents are one of the most important people in tourism because it is from them most customers seek for advice and information when planning and booking for their holiday to another place. He said they are important in the industry especially that they appreciate and sell destinations both in conventional and through e-marketing better once they know about the country.
Adama Njie, the Director of Marketing at GTBoard, noted that for now TUI is actually bringing more flights to the Destination this season compared to the last.
“The GTBoard is very optimistic that the 2016/17 winter tourism season is going to be good but let everyone keep praying for the best because more flights will come to the country in this season, kicking-off soon,” he affirmed.
Njie noted that having TUI flights as chartered flights from a destination like Belgium is important and “is a good thing because there will be competition among the airlines which will give way to affordability, that more people will be able to visit Destination Gambia”.
Manfred Lahey of TUI Benelux and Chabel Hobeika, Managing Director of Gambia Tours both expressed their satisfaction with the visiting travel agents.
by Yunus S. Saliu