The collapse of British Tour Operator Thomas Cook will deal a heavy blow on Gambia’s tourism and hospitality sector. Cook’s downfall came right before the beginning of Gambia’s tourists’ peak season.
The winter season records 90 percent hotel occupancy in the West African State. Thomas Cook brought in 45 percent of the tourists.
While the season is yet to begin, Cook’s demise is already causing concerns among regulators and tour operators. An anonymous tour operator confided in Quartz Africa that Cook’s exit has brought high cancellations and failed rebookings.
“…the fact that Thomas Cook brings the largest number of tourists to the Gambi is a cause for concern for us. And so many people who have booked through Thomas Cook have canceled, and some of them have not rebooked through other companies,” they revealed
Nonetheless, the government is patching the gaping hole through promoting direct flights to the Gambia by other carriers. This move is part of the strategy from a meeting between Gambia’s Ministry of Finance, and IMF among other partners.
Communication from the government’s spokesperson reveals that the plan seeks to mitigate the impact on jobs and the economy.
“The meeting came up with an Emergency Response Team which has already recommended a Strategy to mitigate the shock on the job market immediately and the impact on the overall economic situation of The Gambia, “reads the statement.
The tourism sector contributes more than 20% of Gambia’s GDP, which stands at $1.6 billion. Furthermore, the industry is the largest foreign exchange earner for the West African Country.