The ceremony was held at the West African Institute Complex, Kololi and was attended by government officials, industry leaders, faculty, staff, and the families of the graduates. The ceremony began with a procession of graduates, who were dressed in their academic robes and caps and were led by the Institute's academic staff.
In his keynote speech, Malleh Sallah congratulated the graduates on their achievements and emphasized the importance of the travel and tourism industry for the economic growth and development of The Gambia. He spoke about the opportunities available in the industry, both in The Gambia and abroad, and encouraged the graduates to seize them with enthusiasm, passion, and commitment.
The ceremony then proceeded with awarding diplomas and certificates to the graduates. The graduates of the International Diploma in Travel and Tourism were the first to receive their diplomas, followed by those in Cookery and Pastry, Cabin Crew and Airport Operations, Amadeus, and Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The graduates were visibly excited and proud as they received their diplomas, cheered by their families and friends. They expressed their gratitude to the Institute's faculty and staff, who had supported and guided them throughout their studies, and to their families and friends, who had provided them with love and encouragement.
The Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia is a leading institution in the field of tourism and hospitality education in West Africa. Its mission is to provide high-quality and relevant education and training to students who aspire to careers in the industry. Its programs are designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to succeed in the dynamic and fast-paced world of travel and tourism.
The graduation ceremony was a fitting tribute to the hard work and dedication of the graduates, who are now poised to make their mark in the industry. It was also a celebration of the Institute's commitment to excellence in education and training and its contribution to developing The Gambia's tourism industry.
Over the past five years, the Institute has had it as part of its graduation ceremony to honour pioneers of the tourism industry who have contributed immensely to the development of tourism since its inception.
The deserving six awardees of this year are:
In honouring them, the Head of the School, Mr Sheikh Tejan Nyang, made a mention of his past memory for the past 45 years of service in the tourism industry to qualify that those selected deserve to be honoured.
The Head of the School tasked the graduates to actively participate in research on the challenges of the tourism industry so that they could help develop solutions. Key among the challenges is the over-dependence of The Gambia on a few tour operators doing winter sun packages.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Adama Bah, advised the graduates to help change the concept that tourism is only about the number of arriving tourists to that of the benefits it has on The Gambia. He emphasized the need for a cost-benefit analysis of the tourism industry to determine if The Gambia is benefiting.