Brighton boosts tourism in the Gambia
Published 30 March 2012
Could a tiny strip of West Africa help to make the region a top holiday destination? The Gambia is raising the quality of its tourism industry and University of Brighton experts have played a vital role in improving standards.
Their work could contribute to poverty alleviation and development not just in the Gambia but in the wider West African region.
Dr Marina Novelli and Professor Peter Burns from the University of Brighton's School of Service Management have been advising the Gambian Ministry of Tourism and Culture on legislation aimed at improving the quality of staff and management in the country's tourism and hospitality industry, for instance, through public-private partnerships.
Since 2009 Dr Novelli, principal lecturer in tourism development and management at the university, has been advising the Gambian government on how to improve skills in tourism and hospitality and transform the Gambia Hotel School into the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI).
From left to right: Mr Singateh (Vice-Principal Gambia Hotel School), Dr Marina Novelli, Mr Joof (Principal of Gambia Hotel School) and Professor Peter Burns.
Dr Novelli and Peter Burns, Professor of Tourism and Development made recommendations to the government in December and they have been incorporated into ‘The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute Bill’. The bill has been overwhelmingly approved by the National Assembly and is currently being implemented.
The Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Gambia Honorable Fatou Mass-Jobe has been outspoken in her support of the bill and the importance of investing in professional training in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Dr Novelli said: “It is a great pleasure to see our recommendations being implemented into a national bill, as the GTHI will provide demand-driven skills for a cross-section of the tourism industry. It will respond to one of the most pressing needs of the tourism industry in the Gambia – the shortage of skilled tourism and hospitality staff and professionals.
By enhancing local manpower skills and increasing the tourism sector’s competitiveness, professionally-trained Gambians will contribute to poverty alleviation in the long-term.
The GTHI will train both the current workforce to enhance existing capacity of sector workers through professional development programmes as well as provide vocational training for those wishing to start a career in the hospitality sector. The GTHI is envisaged to become a centre of excellence for tourism and hospitality training in West Africa.”
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