Why a new product like the Ninki Nanka Trail?
In 2017 a new government came into being in the Gambia with a vision to open up the country to new tourism investment that is inclusive to enhance community participation and greater linkages with other sectors of the economy. The 2018 – 2021 Gambia National Development Plan made mention to the importance of tourism development to the Gambia. It puts emphasis on promoting an inclusive and culture-centred tourism for sustainable growth; with a tourism product that is people centred, celebrates cultural heritage and contributes to the socio-economic development of
This will be done by diversifying the present tourism product from the coast to the promotion of the Gambia’s biodiversity and rich culture through opening up the sector to rural and non-urban based locations. It is expected that these measures will boost tourism arrivals, tap high value market segments and contribute to the employment of more young people and economic growth. The Ninki Nanka Trail (NNT), which was first conceived in the 80s and opens up-country tourism along the river Gambia, is a good example towards validating such a vision. The trail, which came into being after a comprehensive amount of market research and product piloting for years, is now open for business. It offers an exciting new Gambian responsible tourism destination and product that needs to be managed differently, in a collaborative way that delivers clear benefits for both local communities and tour operators involved.
Why this Manual?
This manual aims to provide Ninki Nanka Trail responsible tour operators with the key information about what responsible business and operational practices are required to do to ensure that the NNT achieves its’ objectives. It will explain what being a responsible tour operator on the trail looks like in practice. It also provides market information about tourism services, activities and sites along the trail. These include accommodations, restaurants, local guides, ground operators/ handlers, boat transport, creative and cultural tour programmes, as well as booking and pricing systems in place for four NNT packages, with the option for additional tailor-made itineraries.
Who is the Manual for?
This manual is prepared mainly for international tour operators and national ground operators that are considering delivering new, responsible tourism itineraries by sending clients to experience the NNT in The Gambia. By extension, the NNT could also be of interest to those operators doing round trips that include Senegal or West Africa. This manual also serves as a manual for Gambian tour operators and suppliers taking part of responsible tourism training and business development support from the International Trade Centre. The Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) is responsible for selecting the official entities entitled to use the NNT brand in light of them meeting the eligibility criteria and adhering to the NNT responsible code of conduct. The hope being that it will support operators and suppliers to deliver their NNT packages and business practices responsibly, as well as to communicate the experiences and product on offer to those interested in
buying the NNT experience on offer. See Section 6 for details of the NNT Responsible Tour Operators Eligibility Criteria and Code of Conduct.