Baba Ceesay, the director- general of the National Centre for Arts and Culture has informed that the country is abound with both tangible and intangible cultural products. These, he said, constitute the country’s identity, as well as distinguish The Gambia from other destinations in the world.
Ceesay was addressing tourism stakeholders, especially the six public relations and marketing firms, who represented the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) in key European and West African markets, where Destination Gambia is aggressively marketed.
He dilated on this at the just concluded two-day in-country Destination Stakeholders Forum, organised by the GTBoard, under the tutelage of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC).
The NCAC boss in his full presentation to the stakeholders said there is a need to brand them as a unique selling point, as acoording to him, many others have beautiful beaches and hotels.
He explained further that the intangible products consist of the folklore, music, dance, masking traditions, performance traditions, among others, while the tangible are the heritage sites-cultural, architectural, museums and lots more.
DG Ceesay described national monuments, like the stone circles as very important to the country’s identity, noting that they are one of the earliest signs of human habitation in The Gambia. “This also manifests a highly organised society with knowledge of iron working and a belief in God,” and then stated that “though the burials are pre-Islamic.”
Internationally, he said, The Gambia is particularly strong and have international recognition of its heritage sites, such as Kunta Kinteh Island. He added that this was inscribed in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage list in 2003 and the Stone Circles of the Senegambia in 2006.
He quickly stated that the relationship between world heritage status and the number of visitors is uncertain, but certainly the status is an incentive for visit.
For a job well-done, he commended the efforts of Kunta Kinteh Island and related sites, through the revamp project at Albreda – Juffureh, initiated by Hon. Benjamin A Robert, the former director-general of the Gambia Tourism Board, who is now the Minister for Tourism and Culture.