A daylong workshop on sustainable tourism awareness-raising for ten hotels was held on Tuesday at the Senegambia Beach Hotel by the Gambia Hotel Association (GHA), in partnership with Service Extra Consulting.
Marc Van Maldegem, chairman of GHA, told reporters after the closing ceremony that sustainable tourism is there to safeguard the impact of tourism on environment and society.
He said wherever people go, there would be an impact but if people try to ensure the impact is less on the social environment of a country then the better.
“We have to safeguard our planet not only for us but also for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren,” he said.
There is a lot to gain from it, he added, saying it was about awareness, which is sometimes difficult to raise, as there are other concerns on the mind.
People could improve their own conditions not only in hotels but also in their homes in the long run, he noted.
“It is a task for general managers to ensure that their hotels implement what they learn during the workshop,” he said.
A lot of tools were shown on how to reduce water consumption without having an impact on the services they provide or without having an impact on their day-to-day life, he stated.
He said the GHA had completed its 5-year strategic plan, adding that environment is key to making sure they provide good service but also in making sure they work towards ensuring the best possible environment for their guests and staff.
They want to make sure they project Destination Gambia as a green destination where one could come on holiday and the hotel to pay attention to the impact of tourism on the environment, he remarked.
He advised people on the use of energy and water because there is limit to the amount of water and electricity supply.
He said for electricity, there are alternatives such as solar energy and wind energy, adding that there is enough sun and wind in The Gambia but they have to make sure those forms of energy become affordable to install.
Dawda Nyang, Sustainable Tourism Consultant, said the project was meant to help hotel use energy and water in an efficient manner without compromising the satisfaction of guests.
He added that their plan is to ensure other hotels benefit in the project as well, adding that the training will be followed by the setting up of sustainable tourism mechanisms in individual hotels so they could work on a triple bottom line initiative.
All hotel representatives that participated in the training welcomed the idea and called on the GHA to continue organising such trainings.