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The Gambia: Barriers to Informal Sector Participation in the Tourism Industry

 

Barrier Craft Vendor Fruit Sellers Juice Bars Guides Tourist Taxis Potential Solutions
Lack of promotion by the formal sector - negative presentaion. Lack of linkages with the formal sector.
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Improved access to welcome meetings and promotion in hotels.
Fear and lack of awareness amongst tourists.
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Education of tourists and promotion by tour operators representatives.
Too much competitino within the sector
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  Change the behaviour of micro-entrepreneurs - encourage roster and non-price competition.
Tourists bargaining too hard
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  Tour operators and hotels provide information to guests so tourists understand a fair price.

Lack of advertising and promotion

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        Advertising in the hotel lobbies & in annual publication sold by unemployed to tourists.
Lack of marketing knowledge
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        Provision of education and support by an information sector trade association

 

Barrier Way of Overcoming It
Lack of positive information provided inside the tourism enclave by the hoteliers and operators Hoteliers and tour operators providing balanced information about the goods and services provided by poor producers. ‘What’s On’ notice boards in the hotel lobby. Production of a monthly newspaper giving news and motivational copy and advertising services. Directory of informal sector suppliers of goods and services. The poor producers sought positive recommendation for the established industry at Welcome Meetings and in the day to day conversations between tourists and company representatives and other staff.
Quality and standards assurance. Insurance, health, safety and security Industry awareness of the codes of conduct and the training provided by the Gambian Tourism Authority and others, backed by licensing, badging and effective monitoring and enforcement procedures. Insurance and licensing needs to be effectively enforced by government agencies.
Lack of access to tourists inside the hotels and during sightseeing excursions Hoteliers inviting in craft vendors on a roster basis to sell inside hotels, on one or two days each week in the season. Allowing fruit sellers and juice pressers to deliver to their clients in the hotels. Ground handlers including poor producer visits in their excursion programmes subject to guarantees on quality and consistency.
Lack of cross cultural understanding; behaviour of tourists: aggressive bargaining and difficulty in coping with the ‘bumsters’* Tips for Tourists, Do’s and Don’ts – motivational in style, designed to help people get more out of their holiday.
Hassle in the markets discouraging tourists from shopping there Codes of Conduct agreed between stall holders and enforced by the committees, backed by the Gambian Tourism Authority and the government.
Development of new products Requires on going support funded by government or development agencies. Study tours and other forms of technical assistance.
Competition Excessive competition between poor producers can reduce margins to zero or sometimes make them negative. Increasing the market will reduce this only if new producers are not encouraged in to directly compete with existing poor producers, unless the market is large enough to absorb the competition.
Normalising relationships The established operators need to be able to take commissions on bookings made in the normal way in the industry to break down the barriers between the formal and informal sectors.
Local sourcing Local sourcing requires trade markets and development of co-operatives or wholesale markets able to provide consistency of supply, volume and quality.
High levels of conflict between poor producers and between the poor producers and the formal industry Negotiating agreements between the different stakeholders with effective means of enforcing the agreements and backed by the Gambian Tourism Authority and the government.

* Predominantly young men who earn a living by accosting and trying to befriend tourists in the street and on the beach.


Sources

  • Bah & Goodwin, 2003: 22

 

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