Africa: Gambian Tourism School to honour 4 former Ministers of Tourism

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The Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambian (ITTOG), has decided to honour four former female Tourism Ministers of the country for their role in promoting and developing the sector during their tenure.

According to the Head of School, ITTOG, Sheikh Tejan, the celebration of the 11th graduation ceremony of the institute coming at a time when the school is celebrating the contributions of women who have worked significantly to the development of the industry over the years.

He said the ministers to be honoured by the institute at the school’s graduation ceremony which comes up on the 1st of December 2018, include, Susan Waffa Ogoo, Angela Colley, Fatou Mass Jobe Njie and Nancy Njie.

He added that the school will also be recognising other women who have contributed to the tourism and hospitality industry which include Isatou Hydara Ndow and Fumeker Sarr, Cecilia Sambou and Saffie Ndure Jobe who as the four Gambian pioneer female hotel managers.

“We are also reminded of Farma Njie and Angela Andrews Njie as owners and General Managers of their own Ground Operations Companies.

“In the same vain we would like to recognise and acknowledge two female innovators and fine entrepreneurs all of whom have created a niche for themselves and The Gambia in general. They are no other than Ida Cham of Yaboye Home Cooking and Issa Camara of Mama Africa. In Craft production the contributions of the late Musu Kebba Drammeh will never be forgotten and in Craft business there are many like Mamy Secka.

“It is important to celebrate and recognise these distinguished personalities now than later and to appreciate their valuable contribution to tourism development”
Speaking further he stated that the institute will be graduating 135 students in various tourism disciplines in the sector.

According to SheikhTejan, The Institute has continued with its mission and objective of ensuring that it meets the human resource needs of the tourism sector, even though, it continue to face serious financial challenges in making the Institute sustainable.
He noted that the travel and tourism has a huge economic impact in our economies. The sector contributes 10.4 % of global GDP AND 313 million jobs, or 9.9 % of total employment, in 2017.

“We are told the total national tourism contribution to GDP in The Gambia is 20%. With different figures we are happy that the Ministry is embarking on doing statistical research to verify the real contribution of tourism to our GDP. The industry lays emphasis on highly trained personnel in all areas to ensure that the sector flourishes.

“The sectoral demand to employ highly qualified staff is our main focus in ensuring that we meet one of the agendas of the sustainable Development Goals. 5 These goals can only be met if we start instituting reforms in our labour laws to work towards better working condition, better pay and above all restructure our tourism industry to eliminate seasonal workers.

“The sector needs a new lease of life where minimum wage would be introduced and setting the basis for better opportunities for trained staff from professional TVET institutions with those trained to be put on better wages as opposed to those without training. It is only through these reforms that we will be able to encourage and build the career of trained Gambians in the sector.

“We cannot talk of the sectoral reforms without talking of the dare need for a Gambianisation policy in the sector. The high rate of attrition by qualified Gambians in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry moving to other sectors is quite alarming.

Now is the best time to move towards the appointment of highly qualified Gambians to position of trust and meeting one of our objectives of the SDG. The appointment of unqualified non Gambians in hotels and other key areas of the industry needs looking into. If it is now claimed that we have more than enough qualified human power to export to Saudi Arabia, then Gambians should be able to fill Managerial positions.” He said.

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