The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute
The World Bank commissioned research into education, capacity building and training in The Gambia with the aim of improving the country's tourism offering. Professor Marina Novelli and Professor Peter Burns have been advising the Gambian Ministry of Tourism and Culture on legislation aimed at improving the quality of staff and management in the country's tourism and hospitality industry, for instance, through public-private partnerships.
Since 2009, Professor Novelli has advised the Gambian government on how to improve skills in tourism and hospitality and transform the Gambia Hotel School into the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI).
Professors Novelli and Burns made recommendations to the government and they have been incorporated into ‘The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute Bill’. The bill has been overwhelmingly approved by the National Assembly. The Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Gambia Honourable Fatou Mass-Jobe has been outspoken in her support of the bill and the importance of investing in professional training in the tourism and hospitality industry.
The research led to a re-designed education and training policy and influenced the decision of the Spanish Government to fund The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI), a national centre of excellence for tourism and hospitality education.
The research provided a feasibility assessment (2009) and business plan (2011) to direct policy, later implemented through ‘The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute Bill’. The Bill sought to create an enabling environment for Gambians to study up to the level of Higher National Diploma in tourism and travel.
Drawing upon our recommendations, the GTHI was inaugurated in 2013 after an investment of €2.7m, aimed at training an average of 200 school leavers per year and upgrading the level of professional training amongst the 30,000 workers in tourism and hospitality, a sector which contributes 16 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product.
It is a great pleasure to see our recommendations being implemented into a national bill, as the GTHI will provide demand-driven skills for a cross-section of the tourism industry. It will respond to one of the most pressing needs of the tourism industry in the Gambia – the shortage of skilled tourism and hospitality staff and professionals. By enhancing local manpower skills and increasing the tourism sector’s competitiveness, professionally-trained Gambians will contribute to poverty alleviation in the long-term. The GTHI will train both the current workforce to enhance existing capacity of sector workers through professional development programmes as well as provide vocational training for those wishing to start a career in the hospitality sector. The GTHI is envisaged to become a centre of excellence for tourism and hospitality training in West Africa.
Professor Marina Novelli
Professor Peter Burns