Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gambia In Dire Need Of “Black Tourists”

Vice President Dr. Ajaratou Isatou Njie- Saidy

Vice  President Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy has used the opportunity of the official opening of the recently concluded 5th International Management, 5th International Human Resource, and the 4th International Public Relations congresses, to urge  the delegates to come back to The Gambia as ‘black tourists’.

Reason: She said the country is in dire need of black tourist to boost its tourism sector.
The country’s number two in governance hierarchy was addressing congress delegates  at the Sheraton Hotel and Spa in Brufut.
She told them:“I am also confident that by the time you come to the end of your stay here {in The Gambia}, the choice you made will not be regretted.”
The VP  told them further that, they would have the urge to come back to the Gambia on holiday as “an  African tourist”-which is what and patronise our tourism sector, as   holiday-makers.
She reiterated her call: “I am appealing to all of you to come back on holiday as an African tourist-which is what we need in The Gambia”.
Njie-Saidy challenged that as Africans, we need to do more of that so as to promote the tourism sector.
She then hailed Nigerians for coming to The Gambia as their tourist destination, acknowledging that most of the sub-regional, regional and international conferences and congresses hosted by the Gambia are patronised by Nigerians.
“I have no doubt that you made the right choice to come to The Gambia for your congresses, and the government and people of  The Gambia are therefore extremely grateful to have you here today,” VP Saidy-Njie told them.
As such, she continued, “the government of  The Gambia urges and encourages you all to develop the sprit of promoting African tourism through the good work.
She, however, urged participants to maximise their efforts through public relation in the promotion of African values for the development of  the African continent. The need for capacity development at all levels of professionalism was underlined by Njie-Saidy, as she described such training courses as  “an asset for sustainable development”.
“Your combination of a balance between theory and practice is well noted, and additionally commended,” the delegates heard from the Vice President and Minister of Women’s  Affairs.
The government of The Gambia, the VP told them, was also extremely proud that the congresses  have gathered top experts comprising internationally renowned consultants and academicians.
According to her, the government of The Gambia has commended the organisers’ efforts to recognise that development of the top human resources  skills especially amongst Board Directors, Directors and Chief Executive Officers.
In her view, that is critical if we are to have  skilled workforce to accelerate “our economic development”. 
She  also said the government welcomes the continued interaction and development of human resources, public relations and management skills, positing that “we need to relate better with our citizens through professional and effective dissemination of information”.
Njie-Saidy further tasked Gambian Public Relations Officers to sell  the positive image of the country by using their medium of communication to explore the country to the outside world. 
In this age of rapid development of information technology coupled with the dynamic and ever-changing information society, the convergence of  mediums for effective communication and projection of institutional values that creates wealth and alleviate poverty becomes evermore relevant, according to the VP.
She assured the delegates that their mutual association in their collective drive to achieve continued professionalism and excellence in the broad areas of competencies that their training was expected to offer,“is a signal of good partnership and cooperation that The  Gambia will always  encourage and support  for the benefit of all Gambians and non-Gambians in The Gambia  and abroad”. 
She also tasked institutions to support their staff at all levels to commit more time, towards enhancing capacity through training of professional practitioners in the areas of competencies such as management, human resources, public relations and indeed governance at Board level. 
The African continent, she reminded them, is critically challenged by human capacity issues. 
In addition, experience in government and life generally has demonstrated that training and by doing so doing, bridging the skills gap, is the approach “we should adapt to raise the level of our competencies generally,” she enjoined them.
Njie-Saidy also encouraged the delegates to explore avenues of affiliation with institutions in The Gambia  so as to have  constructive and positive input into the development process of the country.
The VP is undoubted that the public and private sectors -(not for profit sectors)- which are the bedrock of  the country’s economy “have shown and will continue to show diligence in the socio-economic development of the Gambia”.
Mr. Raymond Njai, President of  Public Relations Association , The Gambia (PRAG), in his remarks acknowledged the conducive environment created by President Jammeh, which made the hosting of such events in the country possible.
He thanked the Gambian leader for “continuing to bless the Public Relations Association of The Gambia. 
“We, in PR know what it  means when you have a leader who creates space for everybody  to contribute to contribute to national development.
“ The  PR fraternity in The  Gambia will not relent both locally and internationally,” the PRAG boss told the audience at the congresses of the earlier mentioned bodies.
Mr. Mike Okereke, President Business  Education Examination Council (BEEC)  International   and Director,the Management School London; Mr. David  Taylor, Senior Consultant, the Management School London; Professor  Mike Bourne,  Professor of Performance Management,Carnfield University, and also Senior Human Resource Consultant; Mr. Richard Linning, President of International Public Relations Association all spoked at the opening and the vote of thanks  was delivered by Mr. Bankole Akinyemi, Senior Management Consultant and Council member of BEEC International. 

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