This study examines the current state of tourism in The Gambia, West Africa, and proposes a series of practical measures to enhance the flow of benefits to the poor. It is based on a framework of international ‘best practice' for boosting benefits for the poor, combined with innovative local economic analysis that maps the current flows of benefits to a range of stakeholders from the tourism value chain in The Gambia.
Tourism is a significant sector in the Gambian economy, representing about 13% of national income and 19% of all private sector formal jobs. As our focus is pro-poor tourism, though, it is the nature of linkages between tourism and the local economy that are critical – rather than just the aggregate size of the tourism sector. This success with which the Gambian poor have captured a part of the tourist value chain does not seem to be an accident. It appears to be the result of sustained efforts by Gambian non-governmental organizations, with international support, in reducing barriers to entry for small entrepreneurs to access the tourism value chain.
Recommendations for the Government of The Gambia focused on strengthening local economic linkages, and creating an enabling environment, to encourage both an overall increase in the size of cake, and the slice of cake that goes to the poor.