Gambia Hopes For Regular Year-Round Flights With Russia

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The Gambia hopes to expand the number of flights to and from Russia, making them regular and year-round, Jainaba Bah, the Gambian ambassador to Russia, told Sputnik on the sidelines of the Russian-African Social Forum on Tuesday.

“We want to see more Russian tourists coming to Africa and, specifically, to The Gambia, because The Gambia is a very peaceful country, with a very beautiful coastline and we also have ecotourism. We are hoping that [the increase in number of flights] would not just be a one time phenomenon, that it would be a continuous event that would be happening, and not only during a specific period in the year but throughout the year. So we hope that would strengthen bilateral relations between our two peoples,” Bah said.

According to the ambassador, The Gambia seeks Russian partnership in establishing a national center of excellence for aviation operations in order to eventually create a national airline, which the country cannot afford at the moment.

“To have a national airline is very costly. We don’t have enough taxpayer money to subsidize or finance that. So right now what we are looking for is to have a center of excellence to train pilots .

… In that regard, [we can collaborate] with Russia in the provision of simulators, pilot instructors … That is a quality in the education that you have that Russia can share with us,” Bah said.

She also expressed hope that the tourism between the two countries will further grow and be supported not only by the bilateral work of tourism agencies, but also at higher level, perhaps, with the help of possible intergovernmental agreements.

“We hope that there will be more Russian businessmen investing in the tourist industry in The Gambia, even coming and building hotels in partnership with Gambian nationals. That would be profitable for the Russian economy, something very lucrative,” the ambassador said.

The relations between Russia and The Gambia, which were officially established in 1965, have been developing in various directions, for example, in trade, with Russia exporting food and grain to the African state. The two countries have also enjoyed cooperation in the field of education and plan to sign the memorandum of understanding in this field.

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