A total of 212 tourists from Stockholm and the Scandinavia, chartered by Thomas Cook airline, yesterday landed at the Banjul International Airport for the 2015/16 tourist season.
It was the second flight to land at the airport for the commencement of the 2015/16 tourist season.
The tourists were received by officials of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) and tour operators.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the aircraft landed, Abdoulie Hydara, director general of GTBoard said “the unprecedented early arrival of flights” for the tourist season in The Gambia is “history in the making”.
He said last year flights were cancelled due to the Ebola but this year they have seen early flights into the country.
Mr Hydara said Thomas Cook is chartered to be flying to Banjul on weekly basis and would be arriving with 200 tourists.
“We would be expecting full flights on a weekly basis,” he said, adding that on 27 November they would be witnessing the arrival of Thomas Cook from Helsinki with the same number of tourists.
Kirsi Karjalainen, Destination Manager Services, said this year’s season “is a promising one” as more flights are expected to land in The Gambia.
Adama Njie, director of marketing at the GTBoard, said they are delighted because last year the Ebola crisis affected the season until the Scandinavians had to pull out their flights.
“This year, they are coming with full flights and it is going to be weekly flights until April 2016,” he said,
“We are very happy because it is going to change the entire tourism industry, and we are going to have a good season,” said Mr Njie.
Charbel Hobeika, Managing Director of Gambia Tours, said this was the first flight from Scandinavia and Stockholm, in particular, with Thomas Cook from Northern Europe.
He said last year they did not operate because of the Ebola crisis but they are this season.