© AFP / SEYLLOU
Abubacarr Camara, head of the Gambia Tourism Board, was reported by The Telegraph on Wednesday as saying that the country wants to improve its reputation abroad and draw in "quality visitors" rather than older European ladies eager to engage in sexual activity with younger males. According to the publication, the small country in West Africa, which has a population of just 2.5 million people, has lately developed a reputation as a shelter for older women from the UK and other areas of Europe seeking sex.
“What we want is quality tourists,” said Camara. “Tourists that come to enjoy the country and the culture, but not tourists that come just for sex.”Officials in the Gambia claim that in order to shed ecotourism's seedy image, they seek to market to millennials and higher-end travelers.
Since Gambia is home to over 300 distinct kinds of tropical birds, Hamat Bah, the country's minister of tourism and culture, said to The Telegraph that the government intended to move the emphasis away from nightlife and toward nature.
According to the source, the government is now working to implement new regulations that might make it simpler for law enforcement to prosecute both neighborhood beach boys and older ladies involved in "suspected relationships."
Following the introduction of inexpensive flights and low-cost package vacation packages to the former British colony by worldwide travel giant Thomas Cook, sex tourism in the Gambia gained traction in the 1990s. Since then, the nation has earned a reputation for being home to a sizable population of young black males who are willing to provide sexual services to elderly women in return for payment.
A few days with an old European lady may earn you over $200, which is the equivalent of a month's income in the country, according to The Telegraph, while many young Gambian men are driven to the sex business due to the nation's poor earnings and lack of employment opportunities.