The Minister of Tourism has raised concerns over importation of food products by hotels that are produced in the country.
By Sarjo Brito
Hamat Bah has urged stakeholders in the tourism industry to support local businesses instead of importing products that they could but from within.
Bah made the remarks at a two day national tourism and culture conference at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, where stakeholders gathered to discuss significant wide ranging issues geared towards the advancement of tourism in the Gambia. The two-day conference ended on Tuesday.
Bah said a lot of Gambians are engaging in agriculture but their produce are not bought by hoteliers.
He said most of the agricultural produces like eggs and meat are usually imported. Bah questioned why hoteliers would rather buy milk, meat, eggs, peanuts and even furniture from outside the country when they in fact are being produced in the Gambia.
The minister emphasized the need to create linkages between agriculture, trade and the tourism industry.
A 1983 report by a British parliamentary committee showed that almost 90% of all income of tourism goes out of the Gambia. He said it is about time that Gambians start patronizing their own.
“The millions of dollars you are using to import your furniture from outside can be saved in our foreign reserve by using our local currency,” said Bah.