Panafrican News Agency

Tourism: 600 employees to turns jobless in 73 hours in Gambia

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Six hundred workers of the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia and Coral Beach Hotel Brufut, 20km outside Banjul, will turn jobless in less than 73 hours due to FTI widening-up operation in the country, an official source said here Monday.

Hedi Ben Aissa, an official of the FTI, said at a press conference that they had already invoked force majeure on the management lease of Kairaba and Coral Beach Hotels.

The FTI Group is a tour operator for promotional products under the umbrella of the hospitality company , Meeting Point Hotels, the Group’s five hotel brands are Labranda Hotels and Resorts, Designs Plus Hotels, Kairaba Hotels and Resorts.

FTI, which resumed destination Gambia for the second time, took over the management of Kairaba and Coral Beach Hotels in 2017.

It employed a total number of 600 staffs working at both hotels for over 30 months during which the hotels paid a total sum of D27, 436,342 as salaries to the staff.

Given a further breakdown of the two hotels expenditure for 30 months, Aissa disclosed that FTI had in 30 months paid a total of D261,458,865 to local suppliers, D70,742,216 to local tour operators, and D156,557,982 to hotels and lodges in The Gambia.

He added further that in two-and-a- half years FTI paid taxes to the government as follows: GRA Corporation tax D18,726.749; GRA Income Tax D13,331,489; GRA Expatriate Tax D4,962,720; and GRA VAT D79,377,153.

According to Aissa, during the low season of 2019, FTI operated five flights per week and brought 25,000 tourists to The Gambia in three-and-a-half months.

“As a result of the impact of Coronavirus on the tourism industry in The Gambia, FTI invoked a Force Majeure at the end of April 2020, six months before the end of its contract with MA Kharafi and Sons.”

With regard to their lease agreement, he noted “that Third Party mediation concluded that FTI has the right to invoke a Force Majeure at the end of April.”

Answering questions from the press, Aissa disclosed that FTI had paid staff salaries for the months of May and June on humanitarian grounds, adding that, “despite the pandemic, FTI is till accepting bookings from tourists in Germany and will continue to work with partner hotels and airlines to bring tourists to The Gambia”.

After 13 July, he said FTI would maintain an office to settle all its outstanding liabilities to suppliers while hoping to return to The Gambia after COID-19


-0-     PANA     MSS/RA   13Jul2020