Gambia: Tourism industry to hemorrhage jobs, as Thomas Cook implodes
By Sainey Darboe:
The implosion of UK Travel Airline, Thomas Cook, is a “huge blow” to the Gambian tourism industry according to industry connoisseurs.
Reacting to news of the insolvency of the travel industry behemoth, Jenny Ringstead who manages Gunjur Project regretfully observes:
“This is devastating news and a big game changer for the tourist season here this year. A huge blow. Not just the jobs in the UK but it will be jobs world wide where they have dropped the flights and people not visiting the lodges and hotels etc. Massive blow - the UK government should have intervened but of course it’s wrapped up in the mess of Brexit that was caused by people voting on something they knew nothing about - it’s also probably been one of the reasons for this company’s collapse with the pound dropping and no one knowing where the country is headed to. What a mess.
For Jenny, whose Lodge has been operating in the sprawling coastal town of Gunjur for almost 15 years while creating lots of local jobs in the process and embarking on charitable causes, hope springs eternal even as she remains aware of enduring challenges:
“Let’s hope another airline comes in and pick up the flights for Gambia. A Thomas cook flight takes under 6 hours from UK. Have just done a search and flights from Manchester are now taking between 16-30 hours with stops and long waits and a higher charge”.
US-based Gunjurian and author Mori Kebba Jammeh bemoaned:
“This is a very sad day for Gambia. The timing is very unfortunate when the season is just about to start. The Tory party could have intervened but they refused even when 9000 UK jobs will be lost”.
Bosses of Thomas Cook spent the whole of Sunday with lenders with an effort to secure the needed £200m to avoid collapse, to no avail. The British government which was also approached for a bail out refused, according to reports.
Gunjur Online sought the reaction of the Gambian Tourism Minister Hon. Hamat Bah for his reaction to the collapse of Thomas Cook on this year's tourism prospects. He was unavailable at the time of going to press. We will update the story when we get his reaction.