The Gambia wants to encourage “quality tourists” to visit the country instead of just UK grannies looking for sex, which has become a serious problem in the country.
The tiny West African country has been turning into an increasingly popular sex retreat for older British women since the 1990s when Thomas Cook started selling budget cheap package holidays to the former British colony.
But Thomas Cook went bust in 2019, and tourism to The Gambia reduced significantly. Though sex tourism, on the other hand, didn’t stop.
Speaking to The Telegraph, director of the Gambia Tourism Board Abubacarr S. Camara said officials have had enough, and want tourists that go to enjoy the country and its culture, “not tourists that come just for sex.”
He said the government is targeting higher-end tourists and millennials as opposed to older Brits.
Tragically, the incentive for Gambian men to sleep with these old ladies, who also flock from countries like Holland, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, is largely a lack of jobs and poor wages in the country. The men, known locally as “busters”, wander the beaches looking for elderly women, who they hope will take them to Europe for a better life. Speaking to presenters on YouTube channel The 77 Percent, one Gambian man said children as young as 9 years old are being preyed on by tourists.
Despite this, some UK women are not ashamed of their sexual getaways. Speaking on This Morning in 2019, sisters Jackie Simpson and Julie Ramsey, in their 60s, explained how they have travelled to the Gambia over 15 times, fallen in love and had multiple boyfriends, “who all say they’re 36”.
The Gambia’s previous dictator Yahya Jammeh is often held responsible for the struggling economy and was accused of sexual abuse himself. But the country’s new government is keen to reduce the number of both young men and women prostituting themselves as a result of poverty. They might even be bringing in a new law to make it easier for police to arrest “bumsters” and old ladies who are thought to be in relationships.
Tourist officials visited the UK in June for conversations with TUI and British Airways about boosting flights from London to Banjul, The Gambia’s capital – though not to encourage any more sex tourists. – JOE