Pro-Poor Tourism: Boosting Gambia’s Economy and Empowering its Poor Communities

Pro-Poor Tourism: Boosting Gambia’s Economy and Empowering its Poor Communities

Tourism is a major industry worldwide, contributing to around 11% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), providing jobs for 200 million people and catering to nearly 700 million international travellers every year. By 2020, this figure is expected to double. Although developing countries currently hold a smaller share of the international tourism market (about 30%), the sector is growing in these regions. From 1990, tourism arrivals in developing countries have grown by an average of 9.5% per year, compared to the global average of 4.6%. The tourism industry plays a vital role in the economies of developing nations, especially in terms of foreign exchange earnings, employment opportunities, and GDP.

However, it is worth noting that the countries with the highest proportions of poor people tend to be small island economies that are middle-income and have few poor inhabitants. Despite this, a closer look at tourism data reveals that the industry is significant or growing in most countries with high levels of poverty. Therefore, tourism is a crucial aspect of life for many of the world’s poor. As the international community has set targets to halve poverty by 2015, pro-poor growth is necessary to achieve significant progress. Since the tourism industry is crucial in many poor countries, it has the potential to be a source of pro-poor growth.

Tourism is a highly debated topic when it comes to its potential to benefit the poor in developing countries. Critics argue that foreign, private sector interests drive tourism, which limits its potential to contribute to poverty reduction. Leakage of revenue and its capture by rich or middle-income groups are also major concerns. Additionally, tourism is a volatile industry that is susceptible to uncontrollable events like political unrest, exchange rate fluctuations, and natural disasters, which can lead to negative economic consequences. Moreover, tourism can have a specific impact on poor communities, including displacement, increased local costs, loss of access to resources, and social and cultural disruption.

Despite these criticisms, there are several reasons why tourism has the potential to benefit the poor in developing countries. First, the tourism industry is diverse, which increases the scope for wide participation, including the informal sector. Second, tourism provides considerable opportunities for linkages between the industry and other sectors of the economy, such as souvenir selling, which can benefit the poor.

Additionally, tourism can stimulate economic growth by creating jobs and generating income, which can help to reduce poverty. In developing countries, tourism can provide a significant source of foreign exchange earnings, which can help to alleviate balance of payment problems. Moreover, the growth of tourism can lead to improved infrastructure, which can benefit poor communities by providing access to clean water, sanitation, and transportation.

Another advantage of tourism is that it can promote cultural understanding and appreciation, which can help to preserve and celebrate cultural heritage. By showcasing local traditions and customs, tourism can help to create a market for local handicrafts and food products, which can benefit the poor by creating new markets for their products.

In conclusion, while tourism is not a panacea for poverty reduction in developing countries, it has the potential to provide important economic benefits, including job creation, income generation, and foreign exchange earnings. However, to ensure that tourism benefits the poor, it is essential to develop tourism policies and strategies that promote sustainable, inclusive, and equitable growth. By working with local communities and ensuring that they are involved in the planning and implementation of tourism projects, it is possible to create a tourism industry that benefits everyone.

The tourism industry relies heavily on natural resources such as wildlife and scenic locations, as well as cultural assets. These are assets that some of the poor have access to, even if they have no financial resources. Furthermore, tourism has the potential to create more jobs than manufacturing, although it may not be as labor-intensive as agriculture. Additionally, a higher proportion of tourism benefits, including job opportunities and petty trade, go to women when compared to other modern sectors.

As tourism is already a significant factor in the lives of many poor people worldwide, whether it is more or less pro-poor than other industries is arguably irrelevant. The real challenge is to enhance the many positive impacts tourism can have while reducing the negative effects it can have on the poor, such as displacement, increased costs, loss of access to resources, and social and cultural disruption. By doing so, tourism can potentially become a more effective tool for poverty reduction, particularly in developing countries where it is an important source of revenue.

Pro-poor tourism and sustainability

As early as 1988, the World Tourism Organisation provided a definition for sustainable tourism, which involves managing resources in a way that meets economic, social, and aesthetic needs while preserving cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems. However, the focus of the debate surrounding sustainable tourism has mainly centered on environmental sustainability and community involvement. This narrow approach fails to consider the links between poverty, environment, and development. In today’s world of increasing inequality, tackling poverty is a crucial aspect of sustainable development. The 1999 meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development recognized this need and called on governments to “maximize the potential of tourism for eradicating poverty by developing appropriate strategies in cooperation with all major groups, indigenous and local communities.”

Pro-poor tourism (PPT) aims to generate net benefits for the poor, whether they be economic, social, environmental, or cultural. PPT is not a particular tourism product or sector but an approach to the industry. The focus of PPT is on creating opportunities for the poor within tourism, rather than expanding the overall size of the sector. Three core activities underpin this approach: increasing access of the poor to economic benefits by expanding business and employment opportunities, providing training so that they can take advantage of these opportunities, and spreading income beyond individual earners to the wider community; addressing the negative social and environmental impacts of tourism, such as lost access to land, coastal areas, and other resources, and social disruption or exploitation; and policy/process reform by creating a policy and planning framework that removes some of the barriers to the poor, promoting the participation of the poor in planning and decision-making processes surrounding tourism, and encouraging partnerships between the private sector and poor people in developing new tourism products.

What are the ways to support pro-poor tourism?

Pro-poor tourism requires the involvement of various stakeholders, including government, private sector, non-governmental organizations, community organizations, and the poor themselves. The private sector can participate in pro-poor partnerships, and governments can provide a policy environment that facilitates pro-poor tourism.

The poor also play a critical role in pro-poor tourism but often need to be organized at the community level to engage effectively in tourism. Non-governmental organizations can catalyze and support pro-poor tourism efforts.

Donors can also promote pro-poor tourism by supporting tourism plans and the sustainable tourism agenda. Early experience indicates that pro-poor tourism strategies can expand opportunities for the poor and have wide application across the industry. While poverty reduction through pro-poor tourism can be significant at a local or district level, achieving national impacts would require a sector-wide shift and may vary based on location and the size of the tourism industry. Despite the challenges, supporting pro-poor tourism is undoubtedly worth pursuing.


The tourism industry is one of the largest in the world, contributing 11% of global GDP, providing employment for 200 million people and serving almost 700 million international travelers each year. This number is projected to double by 2020. While developing countries currently have a relatively small share of the international tourism market (about 30%), this is changing, with international tourism arrivals in developing countries growing at an average annual rate of 9.5% since 1990, compared to 4.6% worldwide.

Tourism plays a vital role in the economies of developing countries, particularly in terms of foreign exchange earnings, employment, and GDP. However, the economic significance of tourism varies greatly among countries, with small island states tending to be the most dependent on tourism. The Caribbean is the world’s most tourism-dependent region, with an average of 25% of GDP attributed to tourism, while the Maldives is the most dependent country, with tourism accounting for 55% of GDP.

Statistics on tourism tend to focus on the contribution of international tourism to national GDP, while downplaying the significance of domestic tourism and regional tourists traveling by land. This approach overlooks the importance of tourism to local economies. For example, while tourism accounts for approximately 2.5% of GDP in India, it has been estimated that it contributes to roughly half of economic activity in the hill region of Uttar Pradesh, which is popular for its pilgrim trails.

Facts and Figures on International Tourism

International tourism has a significant impact on global trade and economies. According to the World Tourism Organization, international tourism accounts for:

  • 36% of trade in commercial services in advanced economies, and 66% in developing economies.
  • 3-10% of GDP in advanced economies, and up to 40% in developing economies.
  • US$476 billion in tourism receipts in 2000.

Tourism is also a major export for many countries. In fact, it is one of the top 5 exports for 83% of countries and the main source of foreign currency for at least 38% of countries. However, a small number of countries dominate the international tourism market, with 10 countries (including 6 in Europe) accounting for 67% of all international tourists.

Significance of tourism to Gambia

Tourism is an important sector for the economy of The Gambia, a small country in West Africa. In fact, it is the country’s second largest source of foreign exchange earnings, after groundnuts (peanuts). According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism directly contributed 20% to the country’s GDP pre Covid.

Tourism in The Gambia is largely based on its beaches, wildlife reserves, and cultural heritage sites. The country’s warm climate, long coastline, and proximity to Europe make it an attractive destination for European tourists seeking winter sun. Visitors to The Gambia can also enjoy ecotourism activities such as birdwatching, river safaris, and visits to nature reserves.

The tourism sector in The Gambia provides employment opportunities for a significant portion of the population, particularly in areas such as hotels, restaurants, and transport. In addition, the industry has spurred the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, including tour operators, craft markets, and souvenir shops.

However, like many other countries, The Gambia’s tourism sector has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions and reduced demand have led to a decline in the number of tourists visiting the country, causing significant economic losses. Despite these challenges, the government and private sector are working to promote The Gambia as a safe and attractive destination for international tourists.

Significance of international tourism to poor countries

International tourism can have a significant impact on the economies of poor countries. It can contribute to foreign exchange earnings, employment, and gross domestic product (GDP). In some cases, it can be the largest source of foreign currency for a country.

Tourism can also have a multiplier effect on the economy, as it can create opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to provide goods and services to tourists. This can lead to increased income and employment for local communities, particularly in rural areas where other economic opportunities may be limited.

Furthermore, tourism can help to preserve and promote cultural heritage and natural resources, which can provide a sustainable source of income for local communities. This can also help to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on other industries, such as agriculture or mining.

However, it is important to note that the benefits of tourism are not evenly distributed and there can be negative impacts, such as environmental degradation, cultural commodification, and the displacement of local communities. Therefore, it is important to ensure that tourism is developed in a sustainable and equitable manner.

Overlap between tourism and high incidence of poverty

The importance of tourism to developing countries is well established, but what about countries with the highest poverty rates? Although small island economies that rely heavily on tourism tend to be middle-income and contain fewer poor individuals, tourism is significant or growing in most countries with high levels of poverty. This means that for many of the world’s poor, tourism is a part of everyday life.

However, the tourism industry is not without its drawbacks, particularly when it comes to poverty reduction in developing countries. Leakage of revenue is high, and what revenue is retained in the destination country often ends up being captured by rich or middle-income groups, rather than the poor. Tourism is also a volatile industry, making it susceptible to events outside of its control, such as political unrest, exchange rate fluctuations, and natural disasters. Tourism can also have a negative impact on the poor, leading to displacement, increased local costs, loss of access to resources, and social and cultural disruption.

Despite these challenges, tourism offers potential opportunities for poverty reduction, particularly for women and those with natural and cultural assets. The industry is diverse, allowing for wide participation, including the informal sector, and there are considerable opportunities for linkages, such as souvenir selling. Tourism is also more labor-intensive than manufacturing, and a higher proportion of benefits, such as jobs and petty trade opportunities, tend to go to women.

However, it’s important to remember that tourism is a competitive global industry with a significant potential for social impacts, and the reliance on natural and cultural capital highlights the importance of protecting these resources.

Tourism and poverty reduction

The reduction of poverty is a global target that seeks to decrease the number of people living on less than $1 per day.

To achieve significant progress, poverty reduction strategies need to incorporate pro-poor growth, which benefits the poor. Tourism is a crucial industry in many poor countries, but some people doubt its potential to contribute to poverty reduction because of the involvement of foreign private sector interests.

However, as tourism is already a reality for many of the world’s poor, whether it is more or less pro-poor than other sectors may be irrelevant. The challenge is to amplify the positive impacts and minimize the negative effects it can have on the poor. Pro-poor tourism aims to generate net benefits for the poor by reducing the costs and enhancing the positive impacts of tourism.

Tourism and sustainable development: the evolving debate

Discussions about how to make tourism more sustainable and responsible are already underway. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) defined sustainable tourism as far back as 1988, stating that it should “lead to the management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.” The concept of the triple bottom line, which incorporates environmental, economic, and social sustainability, was established at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. However, the tourism industry’s primary focus, although not the only one, has been on “greening” since then. Agenda 21 for the Travel and Tourism Industry: Towards Environmentally Sustainable Tourism recognizes the interdependence of development and environmental protection, but the document’s main emphasis is on environmental sustainability.

Ecotourism, which generally refers to tourism that is nature-oriented but seeks to minimize negative social and environmental impacts, has emerged coincidentally with the emphasis on environmental sustainability. This type of tourism arose in response to discussions about the feasibility of top-down conservation approaches in and around protected areas. It has also given rise to a wider interest in community-based tourism, frequently as a component of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) strategies. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has obliged donors and governments to promote sustainable use and benefit sharing, which has contributed to the growth of this trend. While ecotourism continues to be an essential area of focus for many, there is increasing disillusionment with the term, and a controversial debate is brewing over the UN’s proclamation of 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism.

Tackling poverty through tourism in Gambia

The Gambia, a small West African nation, has made tourism a centerpiece of its poverty reduction strategy. The industry employs over 100,000 people and accounts for around 20% of the country’s GDP. However, the majority of this income has been captured by foreign-owned hotels and tour operators, leaving little for the local population.

To address this, the government has implemented various initiatives to promote community-based tourism and encourage local entrepreneurship. The Village Eco-Tourism Project, for example, provides training and support to rural communities to develop and market their own tourism products. These may include cultural experiences, handicrafts, and homestays.

The country has also focused on developing sustainable tourism, with a particular emphasis on ecotourism. The Kiang West National Park, for instance, offers visitors the chance to see a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat, while also supporting conservation efforts and providing income for nearby communities.

Despite these efforts, challenges remain. The country’s infrastructure is limited, and many communities lack access to basic services such as electricity and water. Additionally, the tourism industry is vulnerable to external factors such as political instability and global economic shocks. However, the government and other stakeholders continue to work towards a more equitable and sustainable tourism industry that benefits both visitors and the local population.

Promoting Responsible Tourism in Gambia

Gambia’s approach to responsible tourism differs slightly, as it focuses on promoting sustainability in the environment, involving local communities in the tourism industry, ensuring visitor safety and security, and promoting responsible governance by employees, employers, unions, and local communities. To implement responsible tourism policies, the tourism industry must undergo a transformation that involves greater ownership by previously disadvantaged individuals. This transformation consists of two main components: Black economic empowerment programs aimed at emerging entrepreneurs, and policies and strategies that encourage greater involvement and benefit from tourism by poor rural communities.

This transformation is critical for addressing the structural inequalities that exist within the tourism industry. While Gambia is tackling this issue on a national level, achieving transformation globally in a vertically integrated industry is challenging. It requires an approach that examines social equity relationships at every stage of the tourism supply chain.

Making sustainable tourism tool for poverty reduction

To make sustainable tourism a tool for poverty reduction, action is needed on several fronts. This includes expanding the focus of tourism initiatives to include destinations where many of the world’s poor live, as well as putting the poor and poverty at the center of the sustainability debate. It also means developing mechanisms that create opportunities for the poor at all levels and scales of operation, going beyond a narrow focus on community tourism.

Pro-poor tourism, in contrast to mainstream tourism, prioritizes poor people and poverty reduction. It recognizes tourism as one component of the household, local, and national economies and environment that affects them. In contrast, the current approach to sustainable tourism prioritizes mainstream destinations and treats social issues as peripheral to environmental concerns.

This fails to recognize the links between poverty, environment, and development. Given the growing global inequality, poverty reduction is essential for sustainable development, and the stability of the world depends on recognizing this.

Strategies for pro-poor tourism

Pro-poor tourism aims to create positive outcomes for the poor, which can be economic, social, environmental, or cultural in nature. Rather than expanding the overall size of the tourism industry, pro-poor tourism focuses on unlocking opportunities for the poor within the industry. There are three core areas of focus for pro-poor tourism: increasing economic benefits, enhancing non-economic impacts, and policy/process reform. Each area can be supported by three distinct but often overlapping strategies:

  1. Strategies focused on economic benefits:
  1. Facilitating business opportunities for the poor: Small enterprises, especially in the informal sector, can provide significant opportunities for the poor.
  2. Increasing employment opportunities for the poor: Although unskilled jobs may be limited and low-paid by international standards, they are highly sought after by the poor.
  3. Enhancing collective benefits: Tourism can provide a new source of income for communities and can extend benefits beyond the direct earners.

Pro-poor tourism strategies also focus on the non-economic impacts of tourism

Pro-poor tourism strategies also focus on the non-economic impacts of tourism. Here are three strategies that can be used to enhance non-economic impacts:

  1. I) Capacity building, training, and empowerment: The poor often lack the skills and knowledge to take advantage of opportunities in tourism, so this strategy helps them develop their skills.

(ii) Mitigating the environmental impact of tourism on the poor: Tourism can lead to displacement of the poor from their land and/or degradation of the natural resources on which the poor depend, so this strategy seeks to minimize such negative effects.

(iii) Addressing social and cultural impacts of tourism: Tourists’ behavior, such as photography and western habits, is often regarded as cultural intrusion. Sex tourism exploits women, and tourism can affect many other social issues such as healthcare.

Another set of strategies for pro-poor tourism focuses on policy/process reform.

Here are three strategies that can be used for this purpose:

(i) Building a more supportive policy and planning framework: Many governments see tourism as a means to generate foreign exchange rather than to address poverty, which can inhibit progress in PPT. Therefore, this strategy calls for policy and planning reforms to promote PPT.

(ii) Promoting participation: The poor are often excluded from decision-making processes and institutions, making it unlikely that their priorities will be reflected in decisions. Thus, this strategy seeks to promote participation of the poor in decision-making processes and institutions.

(iii) Bringing the private sector into pro-poor partnerships: Locally-driven tourism enterprises may require input to develop skills, marketing links, and commercial expertise, so this strategy seeks to involve the private sector in pro-poor partnerships to support these enterprises.

Lessons from Early Experience in Pro-Poor Tourism

Pro-poor tourism (PPT) is a relatively new and untested approach, and there is no set formula for success. However, early experiences have taught us some valuable lessons:

  1. PPT requires a range of actions, from small-scale initiatives to larger-scale policies and investments, including product development, marketing, planning, and policy. It requires a holistic approach to the entire tourism system, going beyond community tourism.
  2. While a driving force for PPT is useful, other stakeholders with broader mandates are critical. PPT can be incorporated into tourism development strategies of government or business, even without explicit pro-poor language. Broader policy frameworks and initiatives outside tourism, such as land tenure, small enterprise, and representative government, are also key.
  3. Location matters: PPT works best where the wider destination is developing well and where effective networks can be developed between community and mainstream tourism elements.
  4. The poverty impact may be greater in remote areas, although tourism itself may be on a limited scale. PPT strategies often involve the development of new products, particularly based on local culture. But these should be integrated with mainstream products if they are to find markets.
  5. Ensuring commercial viability is a priority. This requires attention to demand, product quality, marketing, investment in business skills, and inclusion of the private sector.
  6. Economic measures should expand both regular jobs and casual earning opportunities, while tackling both demand (e.g., markets) and supply (e.g., products of the poor).
  7. Non-financial benefits (e.g., increased participation, access to assets) can reduce vulnerability, and more could be done to address these.
  8. PPT is a long-term investment. Expectations must be managed, and short-term benefits developed in the interim.
  9. External funding may be required and justified to cover the substantial transaction costs of establishing partnerships, developing skills, and revising policies (not generally for direct subsidies to enterprises).
  10. While poverty eradication is the central component of PPT, environmental sustainability concerns need to be integrated into planning and operations for long-term success.

Roles of stakeholders in pro-poor tourism

Private companies have a crucial role to play in pro-poor tourism. Below are some ways they can contribute:

  • Engage in dialogue with local people to identify opportunities for tourism that benefit the community. This can be done as part of a comprehensive analysis of the supply chain.
  • Increase the use of local suppliers and hire local staff. However, this may require significant investment in capacity building, and any commercial obstacles should be clearly explained.
  • Offer technical support to local tourism businesses, help promote them to tourists, and provide feedback to help them improve.
  • Establish a partnership with local residents, such as through equity sharing or concession arrangements.
  • Share or develop infrastructure, equipment, or services that are essential to the success of tourism in the community, such as roads, water supply, telephone or radio communication, and healthcare.
  • Respect and promote local customs, norms, and guidelines.
  • Help improve understanding of the tourism industry among local people, government, and NGOs involved in pro-poor tourism.
  • Educate customers and suppliers, including international operators and tourists, about the importance of pro-poor commitments and encourage them to do more to support the cause.

Roles of Civil Society in Pro-Poor Tourism:

  • Serve as a bridge and facilitator between different stakeholders involved in pro-poor tourism.
  • Invest in training, capacity building, and providing technical assistance to the poor to enhance their understanding of the tourism industry and develop skills for small business and tourism employment.
  • Identify and promote opportunities for collaboration between private operators and poor suppliers, and facilitate the process to reduce time and risk for them.
  • Develop mechanisms that amplify the voices of the poor at the policy level, ensuring their inclusion in decision-making processes.
  • Help manage expectations among the poor by avoiding unrealistic claims or promises.
  • Support advocacy campaigns that aim to enhance the pro-poor objectives of tourism.
  • Advocate for the inclusion of pro-poor objectives within multilateral trade relations.

Government’s role

Governments have a vital role to play in promoting pro-poor tourism. Here are some of the ways they can get involved:

  • Involve poor residents in decision-making processes related to tourism.
  • Secure tenure for poor communities on tourism land or assets.
  • Use planning controls and investment incentives to encourage private operators to make and implement pro-poor commitments while also considering broader sustainability objectives.
  • Encourage tourism dispersion to poor areas by investing in infrastructure and marketing, as part of an integrated and sustainable approach to rural and urban development.
  • Ensure policy implementation by linking policy to budget cycles and building implementation capacity at the appropriate government levels, including devolution of resources.
  • Promote pro-poor enterprises and products in national tourism marketing.
  • Revise regulations that hinder poor communities from employment or starting small businesses.
  • Integrate awareness of pro-poor tourism into pro-poor growth strategies and small enterprise strategies.

What can the donors do?

Donors have a crucial role to play in promoting pro-poor tourism. Here are some ways in which they can contribute:

  • Prioritize PPT issues when supporting tourism development initiatives, by requiring assessment of their potential impact on local communities and the poor.
  • Ensure that tourism consultants are knowledgeable about PPT issues and incorporate them into national tourism plans.
  • Assess the pro-poor potential of tourism in specific areas where growth or anti-poverty strategies are being implemented, and provide support accordingly.
  • Promote pro-poor tourism on the international agenda, by engaging with other governments and the industry and highlighting the importance of a pro-poor and Southern focus within sustainable tourism.

Does tourism that puts pro-poor on the forefront work?

The effectiveness of pro-poor tourism strategies has shown promising results in expanding opportunities for the poor, particularly at the local or district level. However, to achieve significant poverty reduction on a national scale, a shift across the entire tourism sector would be required, which can be challenging and location-specific. Despite the challenges, pro-poor tourism is a worthy challenge that can potentially have a significant impact on poverty reduction.

How can tourists contribute to pro-poor toursim in Gambia

Tourists can contribute to pro-poor tourism in Gambia in several ways, including:

  1. Support local businesses: Tourists can support the local economy by choosing to eat at local restaurants, stay at locally-owned accommodations, and buy locally-made products.
  2. Hire local guides: Tourists can hire local guides to learn about the culture, history, and traditions of the Gambia. This provides income and job opportunities for local people.
  3. Respect local customs and traditions: Tourists should be respectful of local customs and traditions, such as dress codes and local laws. This helps to preserve the local culture and promote cultural exchange.
  4. Contribute to community development projects: Many tourism companies and organizations have community development projects that tourists can contribute to. For example, tourists can volunteer at schools, health clinics, or environmental projects.
  5. Learn about pro-poor tourism: Tourists can educate themselves about pro-poor tourism and the challenges faced by local communities. This can help them make informed decisions about how they can contribute positively to the local economy and community.

Where to go on holiday in November from London

If you’re searching for a spontaneous getaway before the holiday season or you’re in the mood for some warm weather in the early winter, we got you covered.

With the holiday season fast approaching, many of our preferred vacation spots take on an even more magical atmosphere, such as New York, a beloved shopping destination. If you’re looking for a more tranquil and warmer early winter getaway, the serene Indian Ocean shores are tough to beat, particularly during the latter half of the month before the Christmas crowds arrive.

This month is ideal for exploring the Sri Lankan resorts of Negombo, Bentota, and Weligama, as the good beach weather returns and festivities ramp up over the Hindu festival of Diwali. Whether you’re seeking to benefit from the climate, off-peak pricing, or commemorating a special occasion, reach out to your personal travel expert to begin planning your dream vacation.


If you’re looking to escape the gloomy weather in London in November and don’t want to break your bank, Gambia could be a great destination to consider.

The country experiences warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine during this time of the year, making it an ideal place for a beach holiday. The Gambia is also a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts, with opportunities to see chimpanzees, baboons, and many species of birds.

The country is also known for its vibrant culture and friendly locals, making it a unique and immersive travel experience. Some recommended places to visit in Gambia include the capital city Banjul, the beaches of Kololi and Bakau, and the Abuko Nature Reserve.

The flight time from London to Gambia varies depending on the airline and the specific route taken. Generally, direct flights from London to Banjul, Gambia take around 6-7 hours. However, if there is a layover or connecting flight, the total travel time can be longer. It’s best to check with individual airlines for specific flight times and schedules.

There are several benefits of taking a vacation in Gambia and enjoying the sun, including:

  1. Boost in Vitamin D levels: Sunshine is the best natural source of Vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and can also help to improve mood and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
  2. Relieve stress: Exposure to sunlight has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase feelings of happiness and relaxation.
  3. Improved sleep: Exposure to sunlight can help regulate your circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep and more energy during the day.
  4. Better skin health: Moderate sun exposure can help to improve skin health by reducing inflammation and boosting collagen production.
  5. Enhanced immune function: Vitamin D, which is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight, plays a critical role in immune function, helping to protect against infections and diseases.

Here is a 7-day plan for a November trip from London to Gambia:

Day 1: Fly from London to Banjul, Gambia, and check in at your hotel. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool or exploring the local area.

Day 2: Start the day with a visit to the Kachikally Crocodile Pool, a sacred site for Gambians that’s home to more than 100 crocodiles. Then, head to the bustling Serrekunda Market to shop for souvenirs and local crafts.

Day 3: Take a day trip to the Abuko Nature Reserve, a lush forest that’s home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, baboons, and exotic birds. Enjoy a picnic lunch and a nature walk.

Day 4: Spend the day at the beach, soaking up the sun and relaxing on the golden sands of Kololi Beach. Take a dip in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, or try your hand at watersports like jet skiing and parasailing.

Day 5: Visit the historic city of James Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once a major center of the transatlantic slave trade. Explore the ruins of the fort and learn about the island’s dark past.

Day 6: Take a boat trip up the Gambia River to the village of Juffureh, the ancestral home of author Alex Haley. Visit the Kunta Kinteh Island Museum and learn about the area’s rich cultural heritage.

Day 7: Enjoy a final day of relaxation at your hotel, or take a guided tour of Banjul to learn about the city’s history and culture. In the evening, head to a local restaurant for a farewell dinner of Gambian cuisine.

Day 8: Depart from Banjul and fly back to London, feeling rejuvenated and refreshed from your week in the sun.

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