TUI UK announces new destinations for winter 2020

TUI, the UK-based holiday company, has announced its winter 2020 programme from Birmingham Airport with the addition of new destination The Gambia and the reintroduction of holidays to Sharm El Sheikh.

The new direct flights to The Gambia from Birmingham are now on sale with weekly flights operating on a Thursday, with the first flight departing on November 5, 2020. TUI also said that eight hotels are now on sale in The Gambia including in Kotu and Kololi.

Long haul flying from Birmingham airport for winter 2020 will see flights added to the popular winter destination of Goa (India) and new weekly flying days to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) giving customers more choice.

TUI has holidays to Sharm El Sheikh, with new flights departing from February 2020 to continue to operate on a Wednesday from Birmingham. From May 2020, TUI will offer both 10 and 11 night holidays to Sharm El Sheikh with an extra flight also available on a Sunday. Known for the red sea and beautiful sandy beaches, Sharm El Sheikh boasts hotels including the exclusive 5T TUI Magic Life and the 5T Reef Oasis Blue Bay.

Further, for the winter 2020 programme TUI has added additional flying days across five of its current destinations that depart from Birmingham Airport, including customer favourites Lanzarote (Canaries), Tenerife (Canaries) and Hurghada (Egypt) giving customers from the West Midlands more choice of holiday destinations.

For summer 2021 Birmingham airport will see a further 46,000 additional seats, and the programme will also include additional flying days to Orlando Sanford (Florida).

TUI UK&I’s Director of Aviation Planning, Karen Switzer, said: ‘Earlier this month TUI announced its winter 2020 and summer 2021 holiday programme which has since expanded with more destinations and added flights. We are delighted that the additional flights provide holidaymakers departing from our regional airports with even more choice when deciding where to go away. With additional flying capacity and more than 1,000 hotels already on sale for summer 2021 it gives those planning ahead the opportunity to choose the most suitable airport, destination and hotel.

‘The customer is at the heart of everything we do and this additional growth to some of our customer’s favourite holiday hotspots from Birmingham airport demonstrates our continued commitment for people to discover their smile with us.’

Tom Screen, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport said: ‘We are delighted to see TUI growing its long-haul route network from Birmingham, with the return of Sharm El Sheikh from February and new services to The Gambia, Goa, Punta Cana next winter. TUI is such a popular and respected brand amongst customers and the travel industry and we are proud to be able to serve these new flights as well as the existing 53 destinations available with TUI from Birmingham.’

Gambia Bird Airline to Offer Services from London Gatwick Airport to Gambia

West African airline, Gambia Bird, is offering its services for the first time from London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

Gambia Bird airline is owned by German airline company, Germania, and is offering a twice a week direct service to the Gambia capital, Banjul, from London Heathrow airport. The flight will then continue on to Freetown in Sierra Leone.

Matt Wood, the head of airline relations at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Gambia Bird and its passengers to the airport today, offering passengers further choice to the west coast of Africa.

We continue to compete with other London airports and continue to win new airlines and new routes.

By attracting Gambia Bird, we are committed to offering our passengers the best possible choice of destinations they can fly to throughout the year.’

The airline, which has only recently been launched, will be offering its services using Airbus A319 aircraft. The aircraft will be branded with the national colours of The Gambia and will seat 138 passengers in Premium Economy Class.

Karsten Balke, the chief commercial Officer at Gambia Bird, said, ‘Our aim is to build a reputation for quality and reliability via our scheduled and punctual services.

Onward travel connections from Gatwick into Central London and beyond are excellent, so we felt this blended in perfectly with our business model.

And with today’s trend for people to book their own flights, especially if they are returning to a country they love, or to see friends and family, having a scheduled airline that flies into Banjul from Gatwick makes a lot of sense.’

Thomas Wazinski, the chief executive officer of Gambia Bird Airlines, said earlier, ‘Our vision is to change the aviation market in West Africa by providing a safe, reliable and scheduled service across all major cities in the region focusing on air travel for business people, tourists and domestic traffic, alongside local West African expertise, warmth and friendliness.’

Gambia signs accord with Qatari firm to develop tourism

The tourism department of The Gambia has signed a deal with a firm in Qatar to develop facilities for tourists in the nation.

The department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Katara Hospitality in Qatar to develop a resort in Gambia. The minimum capital investment for the project is $250m. The MoU was signed by Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, minister of Tourism and Culture in Gambia, and Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, chairman of Katara Hospitality. The terms of the MoU will require the Gambian government to provide Katara Hospitality with 18 hectares of land to develop the project.

The minister for tourism said that the development would enhance tourism in the country and hoped that the resort would be completed soon. She added that the nation was giving a boost to tourism as the country had tremendous tourism prospects.

The minister said, ‘There have been some investments in our hospitality industry from investors. We are getting many tourists from Europe. Our country is very stable and peaceful. So, there are lots of incentives and opportunities for investors. On behalf of His Excellency the president of the Republic of The Gambia, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh, we wish to place on record our sincere appreciation and profound gratitude to the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa-Al Thani, who values heavily, The Gambia’s relationship with Qatar.’

Gambia and Turkey agree to work together on expanding tourism

The governments of Gambia and Turkey have agreed to expand cooperation to develop tourism in both states.

The agreement – signed by tourism officials from both nations – seeks to recognise the importance of tourism to develop economic development in the countries. The two nations also agreed to use tourism as a means to develop stronger ties.

After attending the signing ceremony, Gambia’s minister of Tourism and Culture, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, said that the agreement with Turkey would improve product and human resource developments as well as tourism investment in Gambia. She also noted that the collaboration would help the nation enhance its tourism offering with significant improvements in quality, saying that since Turkey and Gambia had common tourism offerings, experience from one country would help the other.

Ali Riza A-zcokun, Turkish ambassador to Gambia, said that with the signing of the agreement, Turkish visitors would have enhanced knowledge about Gambia and Africa in general.

Momodou Joof, permanent secretary at MoTC, said, ‘This MOU will provide the two countries opportunity to share experiences, knowledge and information in the area of tourism. The country is standing a chance to benefit in the area of product development, hotel gratification among other things in the field of tourism’

The understanding could lead to Gambia increasingly becoming noticed as a tourism destination for its beaches and culture.