ITC backs responsible tourism in Gambia

The International Trade Centre (ITC), a UN body that supports women and young people in responsible tourism projects, is at ITB Berlin showcasing its work in Gambia.

In conjunction with the Gambia Tourism Board, ITC has been developing community-based tours and helping to train youth leaders and communities in sustainable and responsible tourism methods.

Much of the work is centred on the River Gambia, where hundreds of young people are learning valuable skills including tour-guiding. One aim of the project is to help tackle the region’s chronic unemployment problem and reverse the drift of young people from rural areas to cities by providing them with work centred on local communities and traditions.

Omar Jammeh, a coordinator for the Janjanbureh Youth Empowerment Project, told an ITB press conference that, among other benefits, the programme was encouraging young people to take a lead in tourism projects. The tours form part of ambitious plans for the Ninki Nanka trail, a chain of key sites and activities along the river.

Lucy McCombes, the ITC’s international consultant for tourism development along the trail, said the idea was to tap the potential of the river in a responsible and sustainable way. “We are aiming at adventure travellers, educational groups and special interest groups like birdwatchers and cultural tourists,” she explained. “We are going to be developing various packages with various tour operators, develop our branding and looking for business partners who share our commitment to using tourism as a vehicle for economic development”.

Hall 21a / Stand 107