By Yunus S. Saliu
The Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) and the Department of Parks and Wildlife have formalised their partnership through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), designed, among other things, to promote sustainable tourism.
The pact that was inked on Monday by the director general of GTBoard, Benjamin A. Roberts and director DPWM, Momodou L. Kassama, also seeks to facilitate collaboration between the GTBoard and DPWM in the development of responsible and sustainable tourism in the protected areas.
Both parties also agreed in the MoU to develop, enhance and promote eco-tourism products, biodiversity conservation, and social and economic participation of local communities. Through this agreement, they will also jointly provide tools, data, maps and relevant information to visiting tourists, by improving on standards and encourage partnership to develop projects for local communities.
In his remarks, the deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Parks and Wildlife, Yam Bamba Njie-Keita, thanked the two parties for signing the agreement, expressing hope that the two institutions will be committed to promote tourism aspects in the country. She urged the two parties to adhere to the principles enshrined in the agreement.
For Benjamin A. Roberts, there are quite a number of opportunities in the collaboration, saying the two parties can work together to bring about some changes within the wildlife sector. Roberts stressed that if the goals are to be met, there is the need for the DPWM and its Ministry to work together with the technical teams of both parties. Such, he noted, will enable them bring business to the rural communities in a very responsible manner, thus enhancing ecotourism.
Momodou L. Kassama said the formalisation of the partnership marks a significant point in his Department, noting that nature cannot be left out in the tourism promotion of the country.
Kassama assured of his Department's commitment to work with GTBoard in realising the aims and objectives of the MOU.