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No Sex Tourism for Gambia

Gambia’s Tourism Minister Hamat Bah has warned Western tourists, who may be planning to travel to the impoverished West African nation during the winter season in search of sex tourism, to stay away from the country.

“We are not a sex destination. If you want a sex destination, you go to Thailand. The Gambia is not a sex destination. We are not, and please every Gambian must sing that song. We cannot afford to see this country to really be brought to that level. We must protect and preserve this country,” Hamat Bah told Kerr Fatou, a show aired every Thursday on state media GRTS.

“The Gambia is not a sex destination and it will never be,” Mr.Bah maintained. Bah warned that any tourist, caught ‘messing’ with Gambian minors, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The above news snippet was first published on eTN.

According to a news article in The Standard newspaper, Minister Hamat Bah answered a question related to why tourists were not coming to the Gambia by saying: “Cape Verde started tourism 15 years ago and they have 800,000 arrivals. In the Gambia, after 52 years of tourism, we are still 150,000 because we will have this belief that ‘bumsters’ are a value to the growth of tourism.”

“The fact of the matter is this country’s image has been battered heavily. I was in Europe suffering everywhere trying to rebrand this country differently and I discovered things that are so disheartening.

“I was investigating why we were not getting the Scandinavians anymore; why families were not coming with their children anymore and I discovered that we were considered a sex destination country.

“We don’t have the millions to pay on CNN and BBC but we have the capacity to meet individuals to help us rebrand this country. You know, these ‘bumsters’ have so-called massage parlours on the beaches and they have young girls kept in these so-called massage parlours. When they see a tourist passing, they would tell you to come in and get massaged.

“You would choose one or two of the girls and sleep (with them) naked. Do you call that tourism for this country? A country of men and women of high value? I can tell you now in this 2018 that Scandinavia is coming back with 750 tourists every week because they know now that there is a new Gambia. Families are coming now with their children. We must take tourism seriously and ‘bumsing’ never ends. The dropouts will never end.”

Minister Bah revisited his controversial suggestion, though putting it humorously that ‘bumsters’ should be locked up until the end of each tourist season.