Faback Gibba: The Gambia College student’s Thesis reveals decline in tourism in Gunjur
Saturday 19 September | By Yero S. Bah
Tourism plays a vital role in the lives and livelihoods of Gambians especially in the Kombo South settlement of Gunjur.
However, a thesis research by a student of the Gambia College at Brikama Campus who is also a native of Gunjur has revealed that this important sector is dwindling owing to several environmental and socioeconomic factors such as environmental degradation influenced by human activities and other natural phenomenon like the coronavirus global pandemic in 2020 as well as others in recent years.
Mr. Faback Gibba is a final year advanced diploma in Arts, majoring in English Language and Education. He said that, the purpose of the research was to look into the tourism sector in Gunjur where he captured several tourism facilities and attraction sites and the factors that potentially influenced tourism in his native town.
Gibba noted that, the sandy beaches as well as the beautiful sceneries are key tourism attraction factors in this coastal town saying the environment plays pivotal role in this area and as a result many tourists visit the town year-in, yea-out, adding that the coconut trees planted by the youth environmental movement serve as real attractors of tourists and even locals.
He explained that, on a flipside of the coin, the presence of the fishmeal factories in such as the Golden Lead factory serves as a negative influencer as it drives away locals as well as tourists saying the offensive stench emanating from the factory is detrimental to the lodges nearby.
He also pointed out that, cultural and traditional erosion within locals is also keeping tourists away since most of the tourists were attracted to the coastal settlement due to the rich cultures of the natives but believes that the cultural and traditional erosion is actually caused by Western influence too. “Africans believe that our cultures and traditions are not good, therefore we picked up the western ones.” he regretfully added.
The final year college student believes that, the 2016 political impasse coupled with the Ebola outbreak and the current outbreak of the coronavirus are three challenges that have decimated the tourism industry and his town is highly affected by these national and global hurdles. “We know tourism is a huge revenue earner for the Gambian economy.” he asserted.
The researcher added that, Gunjur needs to have standard tourism facilities such as hotels and restaurants to really benefit from the sector saying most the lodges that exist in that area are in mainly for budget and eco-travellers, adding that government as well as stakeholders needs to improve on the facilities in his native home to attract high end travellers. He believes that, traditions and cultures like male circumcisions or the staging of ‘Kankurang’ shows should be revamped to revitalize the tourism attraction factors of the seaside town. “There is western influence that infiltrated into our cultures.” he pointed out.
He called on Golden Lead factory to have better treatment plant but also religiously respect environmental protection protocols whiles operating their business along the Gunjur beach saying it creates environmental pollution and devastatingly damages the ecosystem around.