The Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia brings together students from different backgrounds into a challenging educational environment that provides them with skills to excel in their careers in tourism globally.
This institute specializes in hands-on work and practical training in all tourism industry sectors.
The school has several links with other Institutes of learning overseas, including Central Nottingham College, which serves as its main partner and sponsor.
They host several University and College student groups on professional exchange programs centred on project assignments on various themes relating to Responsible and Sustainable Tourism. The institute is linked with the International Center for Responsible Tourism and, as a result, promotes the teaching of Responsible Tourism as a core activity.
The ITTOG was founded in 2008 through a link with South Nottingham College (now Central College Nottingham). It eventually got linked to Leeds Beckett University UK in 2010. The institute aimed to fill the market gap where the Gambia Hotel School could not provide skills for hotel employees in wider tourism courses to better guarantee them self-employment.
The pioneers of the tourism institute were the two directors, Dr Adama Bah and Mr Sheikh Tejan Nyang. They started the institute with Ms Helen Wilcockson, who established a link with the then South Nottingham college.
Wilcockson played a leading role in the establishment and enabled some students to be offered scholarships to Nottingham college, who later became the first batch of teachers in the institute. It also got linked to Leeds Beckett University by Ms Lucy McCombes in 2010, which helped some of its teachers gain their MSc in Responsible Tourism Management through a commonwealth scholarship.
According to Mr Bah, when the institute was first established, the only institute for the tourism industry in the country was the Gambia Hotel School, which was only introducing hotel and restaurant skills, which, he stressed, are not the only components of the hospitality industry. It is a subset of the tourism industry, so there was a need for this type of institute to complement the other institution to supply the much need human resources for the tourism industry. Mr Bah and others made further efforts to form the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) to train small business owners, like the craft markets, fruit and juice vendors, tourist taxi drivers, guides and also local tourism communities to make them involved and be more successful through learning support by increasing skills and employment.
The institute specializes in hands-on training for students in travel and tourism, mainly in the following areas: travel agency, tour operations, tour guiding, ground operations, events management, entrepreneurship and business skills development. It also emphasizes responsible and sustainable tourism, community-based tourism, and general tourism business management.
According to Mr Bah, regarding data collected by the institute, they have trained over 2000 professionals in various hospitality industry sectors. 75% of them are employed or self-employed, and 15% travelled abroad for further studies or work. According to Mr Bah, these statistics concern those who went through full-time courses with the institute.