Adama Bah 2018 PDOIS’s KMC Mayoral Aspirant is part of five distinguished individuals to receive the Honorary Doctorates award from Leeds Beckett University in England. This has been announced by the University on its official site.

The awarding will be held at the 2019 Graduation ceremonies which are slated at the first direct arena from the 15-18 July.

Mr. Bah’s award is on a lifelong advocate for responsible tourism in West Africa.

The lists of awardees are Rugby League Rugby Director, Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre, Martin Hibbert, Arriva Chief Financial Officer. The fourth is Adama Bah, a lifelong advocate for responsible tourism in West Africa. He will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University on Wednesday 17 July. Adama is an alumnus from the university’s MSc in Responsible Tourism Management course.

Speaking to Mr. Bah on his reaction towards the new achievement, he said: “Well, I am pleased to be awarded an honorary doctorate for the recognition of my work in Responsible Tourism in West Africa.”

He further noted that responsible tourism is about making sure tourists, their host/ locals, and all stakeholders contribute positively to make the destination a better place to live in.

He said the award will further give recognition to Responsible Tourism especially in West Africa and this may inspire others to join them in the struggle to make tourism to contribute positively to better destinations in the region,

He said it is not an easy task, because it requires all stakeholders in tourism including the government to do what is proper and right for the development of the destination.

“It means tourists recognizing and respecting our cultural values, protecting the integrity of the environment and contributing positively to the livelihood of the people by buying local products and services.” He added, “It also means the services and products sold to tourists by locals must be of quality and the right standard.”

Mr. Bah In 1995, with others, founded a small advocacy group in Gambia known as Gambia Tourism Concern (GTC), mainly involved in advocating for sustainable tourism in The Gambia. Mr. Bah said, “It was during a GTC Workshop on Community Based Tourism Enterprises the idea of creating a trade Association for Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) emerged.”

He said, “I was instrumental in forming the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) and secured Tourism Challenge Fund monies for an initiative to work in partnership with the private sector and government to create better economic and social relationships between the informal sector, small producers, the industry and tourists.”

“Within three years this project was able to organize the informal sector (mainly craft sellers, fruit vendors, juice pressers, taxi drivers and the tourist’s guides), build their capacities and improve their earnings.” Mr. Bah disclosed.

He said with the 2011 Tourism Act, these are recognized formal businesses within the industry. He further discloses that “Over the years, I worked with different tourists receiving communities like Jufureh, Kartong, Ndemban, Janjanbureh on different aspects of Community Based Tourism.”

Mr. bah said he founded the ICRT-West Africa, as a network of tourism professionals and regional training Centre in West Africa to help the training of a significant number of Gambian and African men and women on issues of Responsible Tourism. “The Centre working with ICRT, UK secured funding from the Commonwealth for 18 Gambians and 5 other West Africans to do MSC distance learning course. Many of these people are today holding prominent positions within the tourism industry in West Africa,” Bah remarked.

Mr. Bah has travelled widely to attend various tourism conferences in different parts of the world. He said, “In 2016, I was part of a group of tourism experts engaged by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Liberia and the International Trade Centre to help in the consultation for the development of a tourism trade strategy after Ebola.”

According to the information published on the site, Professor Peter Slee, Leeds Beckett University Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are celebrating the graduation of more than 8,000 students. We wish them all every success as they leave us to take up roles in business, finance, law, clinical and health sciences, social work, computing, journalism, education, sport and leisure, tourism and hospitality, creative and performing arts, architecture, and design, the built environment, politics, and entertainment.”

“Our Honorary Graduates are leaders in their fields and an inspiration to our graduating students. Their work has had a positive impact on the lives of others and it is an honour to acknowledge their contributions through these awards,” the Professor added.

Four of the 2019 Honorary Graduates are alumni of the university.

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