Monday, December 30, 2013

Gambia needs more investment to attract tourists - Lombardo

 By JIMOH BABATUNDE


The miles of empty white sand beaches of the Gambia attract tourists from around the globe seeking rest and relaxation. To complement the country's numerous unspoiled beaches is Kairaba Beach hotel.
The General Manager of the luxurious five-star hotel, Gerard Lombardo, in this interview shares his experience at Kairaba Beach hotel and what makes the hotel thick.
Here is an excerpt.

On how he joined the hotel industry?

A friend of mine who was already working in a hotel made it sound exciting, I gave it a try and loved it immediately after my baccalaureate in hotel management from a French school.

On challenges he has faced

 Definitely, there are lots of daily challenges, as a hotel is similar to a small city, running 24/7 with all sort of trades being represented.

Having worked here for over six years, those tremendous challenges have all become a motivation factor to always improve on our standards.

On hopes and aspirations for Kairaba hotel

Being the flagship of the Gambian hotel industry, We want to see the hotel being the most recognised hotel in West Africa.

The Kairaba Hotel offers a unique atmosphere of relaxation and comfort in which to rest and unwind in complete comfort. The ambiance of Kairaba oozes serenity and tranquillity.
In the middle of 40 acres of lush tropical gardens and miles of pristine sandy beaches, it is the perfect location to put the hectic pace of everyday life behind you and enjoy a place of peace and beauty.
All our rooms offer an exceptionally high standard of comfort and overlook both the ocean and the beautiful natural landscaped gardens surrounding the crystal-clear pools.
Whether tourists are here solely for pleasure or taking advantage of the hotel's large and fully equipped conference facilities, guests will be pleased with the hospitality and friendliness of our local and international staff.

On having a say in the direction of the hotel

I do have a say much as the General Manager, but I always consult with my associates. An hotel in the class of Kairaba cannot be run as a one man show.

On what   Kairaba hotel has brought  to the hospitality industry in Gambia.
The Kairaba is the flagship hotel of the Gambia. It has helped in building a reputation of a world class destination to tourists but also to international events, conferences, seminars.
The confidential. Services offered to our guests are similar and sometimes superior than those offered by similar hotels around the world.
People come to the Kairaba Hotel to relax and unwind. That is why our guests keep returning. Sixty percent of our clients have been here before and have come back.
It not uncommon to find many of them enjoying a cocktail by the pool or strolling in the gardens before going to eat at the resort’s renowned restaurants.
After sumptuous meals, long walks on the beach and many hours by the pool, many guests want an added bit of pampering.

On highlights working in the hotel

Many VIP stayed with us such as President of countries, ministers, artists, and other high profile personalities. We have held prestigious events, fashion show, all shown on foreign television channels. We also have had accolades and awards as the best hotel in the Gambia during the past 6 years.

On where he relaxes outside the hotel

At friend’s home (I reside in the hotel), on the beach, or in another hotel!

On a message to the hospitality industry about Gambia

Improve the standards, invest in the hotel and we will be able to attract a clientèle that will spend more.