Gambia National System of Tourism Statistics (STS)
UNWTO has partnered with The Gambia for the development of the country’s national System of Tourism Statistics (STS). Tourism is a key sector for the Gambian economy contributing some 17 per cent to GDP and supporting over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the sector. The government has made tourism a development priority and has the long term aim of becoming a world class tourist destination and business centre. The government’s national Tourism Master Plan provides a strategic framework and action plan for the long term development of tourism in The Gambia with the objective of increasing international tourism arrivals from existing and new markets, developing new tourism products and marketing. In support of the government’s efforts, the government requested UNWTO to undertake a detailed review of its STS and provide technical assistance to national officials on ways to improve the tourism statistics database and statistics for the tourism sector.
Within the framework of its National Statistical Capacity Building Programme (NSCBP), UNWTO fielded a 2 week mission to the Gambia in October 2012 during which consultations were held with officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Gambia Tourism Board, National Bureau of Statistics, Central Bank, Ministry of Interior, hospitality sector associations and the private sector. A detailed review was carried out of existing surveys and data collection processes employed by the various agencies. During the mission, a 5 day training workshop was held for 25 tourism and statistics officials to deliver training on key components of the STS including supply and demand side surveys, with reference to the existing system in The Gambia. Issues were discussed among the relevant agencies on the need for effective coordination and cooperation between service providers and tourism and statistics agencies for timely data collection and monitoring. A number of recommendations were made by UNWTO to extend the coverage of inbound tourism statistics and strengthening tourism data provision by reforming information collected from landing cards.