This Season, Explore Investment Opportunities in The Gambia
Monday, July 18, 2011
With the sprawling stretch of beach front by the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, best of hospitality and leisure infrastructure, the parks, breathtaking ecotourism sites full of rare fiona and flora and the very hospitable people, you need not query why The Gambia is popular in this part of African as the ‘Smiling Coast of West Africa.’
You also need no testimonial to be convinced as the country of less than two million people hosts Europe and the entire world to best of holiday experiences in her leisure nests across the country.
Though tourism contributes enormously to it gross domestic product (GDP), the country is opening up other areas of investment to her West African neighbours, especially Nigeria in a bid to diversify her national income.
One of such efforts is the recently concluded, ‘The Gambia Trade Conference,’ tagged, ‘Bennoh,’ held recently at the Civic Centre Lagos. Organised by The Gambian High Commission, Nigeria, in conjunction with Dinat Consulting Limited, discussants at the conference that include diplomats, economic experts, tourism stakeholders from both countries explore areas of trade integration between the two countries and other countries in the region.
Abdou Kolley, The Gambian Minister of Trade, explores areas of investments in the country that need to be taken advantage of. While tourism is doing well, he notes that real estate, manufacturing, education and transportation are areas Nigerians could come in to help boost in the country. The growing middle class and influx of foreigners on holiday, almost throughout the year in the country, according to him, call for collaborative investments in world-class shopping malls, improved transportation option, more world-class airlines to carter for the increasing number of visitors to the country even from the region, convention centre, among others.
Kolley assures intending investors of incentives such as exemption from paying withholding tax, tax on dividends and exemption from customs duties on the approved capital equipment to be used by the project of business, approved quantity of semi-finished products used in the production process, exemption from turnover and sales tax on items related to tourism, preferential treatment for allocation of land for the investment and the provision of infrastructural facilities.
On her part, Taou Mass Jobe Njie, The Gambian Minister of Tourism & Culture, says with over half a million annual visitors, 16 percent contribution to GDP, supporting over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, thus earning $39 million in foreign exchange, The Gambia tourism is a good place to invest in West Africa.
Top among reasons the country is a one-stop-shop for tourism investment, according to her, are the regulations and various incentives for investors in tourism. One, the Gambia Tourism Association (GTA) is responsible for the licensing and regulation of tourism enterprises categorised into accommodation, catering, entertainment and transportation. Besides, the government has now put tourism development very high on the nation’s agenda.
This summer seems the best time to invest in the Gambian tourism as a 25 percent discount on aircraft handling charges for all tourists’ charter flights awaits investors in its Special Incentives For Summer Tourism. Same 25 percent goes for aircraft landing and parking fees for all charter flights, while a whopping 50 percent discount on sales tax goes for hotels and ground operators. In addition, all hotels by law, offer a specially discounted rate to tour operators during the period.
Earlier on in his speech at the conference, Femi Oluwasina, president, Jethro Group and senior partner, Dinat Consulting, notes that tourism worldwide seeks to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, facilitate sub-regional integration and more fully integrate the continent into global economy.
“We believe with efforts such as this conference, the regional trade volume of 5 percent will move up to 20 percent in the next 12 months,” Oluwasina states.
The participants of the two-day event also toured Lagos (Lekki Free Trade Zone) in search of possible investment opportunities Gambian business community could leverage on to boost regional trade between the two countries.
Author: reproduced by Saihou Ceesay, anchor of Business Matters
Source: Source: businessdayonline.com