WILL THE CREDICT CRUNCH AFFECT OUR TOURISM?
By Lamin Bojang
Senior Lecturer, Institute of Travel and Tourism
This year’s tourist season is overclouded with heightened fears of a global credit crunch. Most stake holders are worried that it might yet be another poor season. Even the Tourism Authority who used to promise a bumper tourist season year in year out seems to be losing their conscience in the credit crunch. Hoteliers fear a recession will leave people unwilling or unable to spend money visiting the Gambia, leaving their accommodations empty. The questioned that begs to be answered is ‘will the credit crunch affect this year’s tourist season’?
My answer is that although we are in for a very rough ride, we will still survive the credit crunch. The current economic situation has posed challenging conditions for travelers, but I remain confident that the turnover of tourist for this season will not be as bad as we are already predicting. A BBC survey has revealed that despite the current economic climate, a significant number of Britons will still take a holiday abroad. It is believed that more than a third of British holidaymakers will still go outside Britain for holidays even if the credit crunch affects their household budget. This demonstrates resilience in the UK holiday market in the face of an economic downturn. For Scandinavian tourists there is a growing interest in destinations that presents local flavor and hospitality of which The Gambia is one. The Euro Zone is also not seriously hit by the credit crunch as in the US and UK thereby allowing Scandinavian tourists to travel to cheap or value for money destinations like the Gambia.
As the Euro is gaining strength against the pound, most British holidaymakers heading for France, Italy or Spain are bemoaning the weakness of the Pound against the Euro - a drop of about 14% over the past year. They now need more pounds to get more Euros as opposed to the time when fewer pounds get them more Euros....