Despite the 15% increase in tourist arrivals in 2021, all traditional markets still declined by 35% in the same year compared to 2020.
According to data from The Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard), total arrivals from non-traditional markets in 2021 saw an 89% growth compared to arrivals in 2020, “with the exception of a few markets such as Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and China -traditional markets have increased in arrivals in 2021.”
Therefore, the total arrival in the traditional markets from January to December 2021 was 34,520 – a decrease of 35% (18,679) compared to January to December 2020, where 53,199 were recorded. Statistically, the Dutch market tops the list of nationalities with 28%, followed by British 25%, German 14%, Swedes 12%, Belgians 7% and Spanish 5%, Danish 4%, Finns 3% and Norwegians 2%.
However, arrivals by nationality from most major source markets, all registered, decreased from January to December 2021 compared to 2020 of the same periods. The UK, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands were all down 4%, 47%, 64%, 73%, 11%, 42%, 39% and 73% respectively, but “Spain was the only market to see an increase in arrivals of more than 100%.”
Meanwhile, January-December 2021 arrivals in non-traditional markets totaled 67,940, an increase of 89% (31,907) compared to January-December 2020 arrivals of 36,033 and a 25% decrease compared to the pre-pandemic in 2019 periods.
As Adama Njie, director of marketing at GTBoard, shared, “non-traditional markets contributed 45% of total arrivals in 2021. Markets like France and America grew more than 100% in 2021 compared to 2020, Austria and Nigeria grew 7% and 90% respectively. Markets like Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland and China all declined in 2021 compared to 2020 by 30%, 92%, 58%, 23% and 43% respectively in arrivals, arrivals by more than 100% in 2021 compared to 2020.”
According to the World Bank’s Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project (GGCP), tourists arriving in The Gambia are classified as either “traditional or non-traditional”. The “traditional markets” are countries from which The Gambia has historically attracted visitors. “Non-traditional markets” are those that The Gambia has not traditionally attracted tourists from, but where interest in the destination is steadily growing. The ‘non-traditional’ markets represent an opportunity to improve tourist arrivals to the Gambia destination and if successful would become a ‘traditional market’.
Traditional markets for Gambia destination include UK, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain. Non-traditional markets included Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, France, America, Italy, Austria, Russia, China, Senegal and Saudi Arabia.
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