In line with our Environmental issue, InGambia had the chance to interview EcoGambia about the importance of ecotourism in The Gambia
How did the idea for EcoGambia come about?
The main idea came about after a series of studies at the Institute of Travel and Tourism of the Gambia (ITTOG) and upon researching the tourism industry in depth. We found out that ecotourism was considered a niche market and thus decided to delve in. Our goal was to create a more sustainable and ethical travel holiday package that could be used to market the Gambia as an ecotourism destination. Therefore, we came up with the idea of EcoGambia as a brand to market our ecotourism activities to the world.
What exactly is Ecotourism and why is it important for Gambia’s tourism industry?
Ecotourism is a cutting edge concept of tourism wherein people travel to destinations to not only experience but care about the environment whilst participating in activities that benefit local communities.
We believe ecotourism can contribute to The Gambia’s tourism industry in the following ways:
• It would act as a new tool to market the Gambia to the world in order to attract eco-minded tourists
• It would promote sustainable and responsible tourism
• It would create employment opportunities for youths in rural areas as well as reducing economic migration to urban areas.
• It would contribute towards achieving the vision 2020 target
• It would attract more investors as well as generate more income for the industry
How do you intend to attract tourists interested in having an environmentally-friendly trip to The Gambia?
The Ecotourism Society is working on several projects that are geared towards promoting sustainable development in the Gambia. We have researched and are now putting together holiday packages that we will offer to tourists. These packages will feature activities that will give tourists truly unique experiences.
What are the main challenges faced by EcoGambia?
The challenges faced by EcoGambia are faced by any new organization especially in the tourism industry, the main challenge being finance. As a newly founded organisation, we don’t have the finances in place to support some of our activities.
We are also struggling to get recommendations. Although it is part of the industry stakeholder’s objectives to promote ecotourism, our contribution towards this is yet to be acknowledged.
What has EcoGambia achieved since launch? Tell us more about your initiatives
The Ecotourism Society has been working on different ecotourism projects, acting as facilitators between local communities and experienced international partners. We are fortunate enough to have secured strong relationships with experts who will come work with us and launch some of these projects later this year. Some of the projects we will be launching are the Permaculture Resource Centre, Magic Forest Restaurant and more.
How can locals support your cause?
We accept all kinds of help within the principles of ecotourism and sustainable development ranging from:
• Financial support
• Project partnering
• Expert advice
And much more
Contact us: Info@ecogambia.com
Vice Chairman: Mustapha Bah
Tel: (+220) 7883455/3783455