Gambia: Tourism – Non-traditional markets recorded 89% growth in 2021

Despite the increase in tourist arrivals by 15% in 2021, all traditional markets still fell by 35% in the same year compared to 2020.

According to data from the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard), the total number of arrivals from non-traditional markets recorded an 89% growth in 2021 compared to arrivals in 2020, “with the exception of a few markets such as the Republic Czech, Italy, Poland and China, all non-traditional markets increased their arrivals in 2021.”

As a result, the total number of arrivals in the traditional markets from January to December 2021 was 34,520 – a drop of 35% (18,679) compared to January to December 2020 which recorded 53,199. Statistically, the Dutch market tops the list of nationalities with 28%, followed by British 25%, German 14%, Swedish 12%, Belgian 7% and Spanish 5%, Danish 4%, Finnish 3% and Norwegian 2 %.

However, arrivals by nationality from most major source markets were all recorded from January to December 2021 compared to 2020 of the same periods. The UK, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands all fell 4%, 47%, 64%, 73%, 11%, 42% respectively , 39% and 73%, but “Spain was the only market that recorded an increase in arrivals of more than 100%.”

Meanwhile, non-traditional market arrivals from January to December 2021 were 67,940, an increase of 89% (31,907) from January to December 2020 arrivals of 36,033 and a 25% decline from compared to the pre-pandemic in 2019 of the same periods.

As revealed by GTBoard’s Chief Marketing Officer, Adama Njie, “Non-traditional markets contributed 45% of total arrivals in 2021. Markets such as France and America grew by more than 100% in 2021 compared to 2020, Austria and Nigeria increased by 7% and 90% respectively Markets such as Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland and China all decreased arrivals by 30 %, 92%, 58%, 23% and 43% respectively in 2021 compared to 2020. However, Gambians have increased arrivals by more than 100% in 2021 compared to 2020.”

It should be noted, according to the Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project (GGCP) of the World Bank, that tourists arriving in The Gambia are classified as “traditional or non-traditional”. Those of the “traditional markets” are countries from which The Gambia has always attracted visitors. “Non-traditional markets” are those from which The Gambia does not traditionally attract tourists, but where interest in the destination continues to grow. The ‘non-traditional’ markets present an opportunity to improve the number of tourist arrivals from the Gambia destination and, if successful, would become a ‘traditional market’.

The Gambia’s traditional destination markets include Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. While non-traditional markets included Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, France, America, Italy, Austria, Russia, China, Senegal and Saudi Arabia.

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