The 2012-13 season will, remarkably, be our 25th in The Gambia. It’s a strange prospect to sit and reflect on those 25 years and how our relationship with the country has developed and solidified and just how much has changed. In those early days there was no tarmac on the roads, no streetlights, the airport was little more than a shack by a runway, and the resort areas barely existed at all.
Yet in essence, the allure of The Gambia – those things that make it such an attractive year-round destination – hasn’t changed at all: its relative closeness to the UK (only 6 hours), the beautiful climate, and most of all the friendliness and genuine welcome of The Gambian people.
The Gambia also remains a very good value for money destination. Our cheapest holiday in our 1987 brochure was £292, which with the rise in inflation would be over £675 in today’s money. Additionally taxes on flying have gone from virtually zero to about £120 per person, and jet fuel has increased by a factor of 6.
One of the biggest changes that I’ve noticed over the last 25 years has been the increase in the range and the quality of the hotels. We featured just 6 hotels in our original brochure (4 of which are still with us), now there are more than 20 and the quality improves with each passing year – especially with our Luxury and Unique collections which were but a dream back then.
So we look forward to our next 25 years in The Gambia and wonder what other changes will come, both within the country and within the tourism industry. Whatever may come, we’ll always look to our core values which have remained throughout these 25 years – to provide excellent holidays, first class customer service and share our love for this incomparable, unique African destination.