EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: In the wake of world aviation giant, Thomas Cook’s declaration of bankruptcy, leaving millions of travelers stranded across the globe, Gambia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture says it has find an alternative and assured Gambians and its global friends that significant steps have been taken to mitigate the potentially devastating effects of the unfortunate situation on Gambian tourism, which is the heartbeat of the country’s economy.
A statement from the government spokespersons, Ebrima G Sankareh stated that with the looming collapse of Thomas Cook, Tourism Minister Amat N. K. Bah immediately summoned a meeting of stakeholders to seek remedial actions to respond to the emergency.
“Predictably, given the crucial role that Tourism plays in The Gambian economy, the Government of President Adama Barrow is shocked and saddened by the devastating news of Thomas Cook’s collapse following an unsuccessful attempt to secure a bailout,” the statement said.
The carrier wrote on its website that it has confirmed that all the UK companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines. “As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.”
It says the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together to do everything they can to support passengers due to fly back to the UK with Thomas Cook between 23 September 2019 and 6 October 2019.
Gambia government spokesperson’s statement indicated that no sooner had news of Thomas Cook’s definitive liquidation broke, than The Ministry of Tourism and Culture convened an emergency meeting with all stakeholders including the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance to device a strategic response.
He said the meeting came up with an Emergency Response Team which has already recommended a strategy to immediately mitigate the shock on the job market and the impact on the overall economic situation of The Gambia.
“The Barrow Government, working with our partners, has since developed modalities to increase the frequency of flights to Destination-Gambia by other carriers as a direct measure to minimise the impact of Thomas Cook’s collapse on The Gambian tourism market.”
Thomas Cook, the oldest and one of the most popular names in leisure travel with a track record of over 150 years, flew in British tourists to The Gambia for over two memorable decades. Because The Gambia annually receives some 30% of its tourists from the UK, the company found it appealing and profitable to fly to the Destination. Although the Airline only operates in The Gambia during the Winter Season (6 months), it has contributed significantly in addressing our air access challenge and accounts for a staggering 45% of tourists visiting the Destination during the tourism season.
Spokesperson Sankareh said the Gambia government recognises the worrying effects of Thomas Cook’s collapse, it however wish to assure Gambians and the generality of holiday makers to the country that the situation is under total control and there is no need for alarm.