Africa: Team #Banjul Bantaba Receives Tumultuous Welcome to Sindola Safari Lodge

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It was a rock star welcome for Team Banjul Bantaba as the team visited Sindola Safari Lodge in Kanilai, Saturday, 21st April, 2018 was received at the frontage of the Festival House by Fatou Mas Jobe Njie, former Gambia Minister of Tourism and Culture, flanked by the villagers of Kanilai and surrounding, The team Banjul Bantaba received in a unique way amid of fanfare and they joyfully walked and gripped to their heels and dance to different cultural groups lined up to welcome them to the lodge where they were given a splendid welcome.

The cultural performances ranged from women cultural group, children masquerade show, to ‘Butusab’ group – Jola Tribe traditional mystical powers display group which topped the performance, though scary. The team Banjul Bantaba comprises a team of travel experts, tour operators, travel agents, tourism consultants.

Earlier the Banjul Bantaba team arrived in The Gambia on a six-day Fam-trip in the Smiling Coast and covered different activities which included training on sustainable tourism by experts; West African stakeholders meeting; boat cruising on river Gambia; sporting activity between locals and visitors; Kunta Kinteh’s Trail/Juffureh tour; visit to Gambia’s best eco lodges; Banjul city tour and the team as well experienced the night life in The Gambia.

All this gears toward reviving the Banjul Bantaba, one of the event that encouraged more West Africa travellers, especially Nigerians, to visit The Gambia, Smiling Coast of Africa. Apart from modern tourism facilities you can find across the cities in The Gambia, the team visit to Sindola Safari Lodge, is an adventure that helped the team to discovered more of the available hinterland quality and standard facilities in The Gambia and as well the uncommon hospitality in the destination compare to other tourism destinations in West Africa.

However, the B2B stakeholders meeting held at Senegambia Beach Hotel, according to Ikechi Uko, organizer of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Abuja Jabamah, Accra Weizo and now Banjul Bantaba, described it as ‘an eye opener’ for the team hence they have never seen some of the available quality hotels in The Smiling Coast anywhere in West Africa, “Gambia has so much that are unknown.” The Gambia has grown up, the quality accommodations with the roads network improved, too, with different shopping malls and as well Sindola Safari Lodge one of the visited hinterland facilities is “fantastic.”

Sindola Safari Lodge is sited amidst numerous palm trees, flowery bushes, baobab trees and bougainvillea. The lodge boast of a wide array of services with delightful standard rooms and luxury two-room suites, integrated into authentic African roundhouses with grass roofs and fitted with latest facilities. The rooms are complemented by a wide range of facilities such as, fine dining at Sindola restaurants, conference room, magnificent children’s playground, adult and children swimming pools that appeal to those in the family category, bird sanctuary with the many species of rare beauties and lust orchards with its variety of tropical fruits.

The heart of Sindola Safari Lodge is formed by a large natural fish pond which guest can admire directly from the lodge’s main restaurant. In addition, team Banjul Bantaba’s visit to the destination is to bring back The Gambia to the next edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market exhibition slated for 8th – 12th September, 2018. The Gambia participation in the past has helped to boost the country’s regional tourism as many Nigerians were coming to Destination Gambia and the number got reduced when the country stop participating in Akwaaba events in Nigeria as other countries like Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, Dubai, Kenya and Uganda got their numbers of Nigerians arriving in their countries rise.

According to Ikechi Uko, in West Africa, there are six events that dominated the region and have brand equity. These events are Dak’Art in Senegal which is for visual arts; FESPACO in Burkina Faso for movies; PANAFEST for culture in Ghana; AKWAABA, Nigeria for tourism; ROOTS Festival in The Gambia and Carnival Calabar in Nigeria. This, he said, still gives The Gambia good chance and opportunity to occupy space because of its brand equity which needs to be repackaged to make it rise above its present standard.

By Yunus S Saliu

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