Jan 29, 2018
Gambia’s Tourism Minister Hamat Bah has warned western tourists, who are 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 warns that any tourist caught messing with Gambian minors will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Hamat Bah is the leader of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP). His political party was among the political parties, which backed president Adama Barrow in the past elections, which saw Gambia’s onetime strongman and dictator Yahya Jammeh, exiting out from the presidency after a humiliating opposition defeat.
Mr. Bah has raised a number of issues during his Kerr Fatou appearance. Among them includes re-branding Gambia’s tourism sector; ending child sex tourism; ending the bumbster menace; promoting Gambian culture; liberalizing the sector; the economy among others.
Mr. Bah’s statement has far-reaching diplomatic ramifications. Branding nations as sex tourism hub is not a good marketing strategy. Bah should keep in mind that there are Gambian students and migrants in Thailand.
Mr. Bah doubled down on his recent statement that beach boys known as bumbsters will not be tolerated along the sandy beaches this tourist season. He accuses bumbsters of using underage girls for sex tourism. For example, Bah said some of the bumbsters often offer tourists massage services along the beach in a covered pavilion, where some of the underage girls are usually exposed to sexual exploitation. He warns that such immoral behavior must be stopped.
Mr. Bah said girls under the age of eighteen will not be allowed to enter guest rooms adding that there is a law prohibiting minors from loitering around the TDA area.