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Tourist Development Area (TDA)

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What does the TDA mean in Gambia?
Beach In short it is the area of land along from the coastline which has a width of about 800 metres. It is set aside by the Gambia Government for present and future tourist developments.

Generally residential land in this area cannot be purchased by private individuals to build houses. Any proposed commercial developments such as hotels and bars usually have to pass through the Gambia Tourism Authority.

Historical Development:
The current use of land is specifically based on the planned coastal zone which is the Tourism Development Area. In 1970, the TDA was legally designated under Ministry of Local Government and Kombo North / South District Authority Act as a mile zone along the Atlantic coast reaching from Kotu river down Tanji River initially and subsequently extending it up to the Gambia River on the Atlantic side.

Thus, the TDA covers almost the entire Southern coast of the Gambia.

This legal designation of TDA has facilitated the Tourism Liaison Board (TLB) now the Tourism Area Development Board all developments so far and it is emphasized that designation TDA as a planning Area in future should enable the authorities not only to control land use but also to protect the wildlife and nature of the TDA.

The Bafuloto Plan of 1973 is still the Basic of all Physical Planning within the TDA. The plan aim to promote the development of Atlantic coast of the Gambia for the dual purpose of tourism and urban development. The area along the coastline with an average depth of 800 meters is reserved for resort and related development whilst the area in land from the coast and separated from it by a Highway (Kombo Coastal Road and the Bertil Harding Highway) is planned for urban improvement and expansion.

The main idea behind the general plan for TDA is to distinguish two different types of tourists zones along the coast. The northern zones, where the main tourist development shall take place within clearly defined areas such as Kotu and Bijilo and later the Brufut area, and the southern zone, where there would be only small "Tourist sport" for excursions and short time visits.

No further Physical development of tourist area is envisaged in the Southern zone. Based on the latest forecasts as well as the actual growth of tourist and also on the assumption that tourism will grow faster in the future, a study made by GTZ short team expert on the TDA in 1989 has concluded that the Northern Zone alone can adequately meet the demands for hotel beds in the future. This affords the opportunity to preserve the Southern Zone as a nature park of unique beauty untouched by the adverse affects of tourists developments. The proposed nature park “South Coast” will provide a far greater attraction for the tourism in The Gambia than a multitude of half furnisher hotel-sites dotted along the whole coaster strip.

Tourism Development with specific reference to the Tourism Development Area by Mr Alkali E. CONTEH:

When tourism started in the Gambia in 1965, only 300 tourists hailing from Scandinavia spent their holiday on our beaches. The following year, the number rose to 528. The industry which was introduced by foreign business interest, was encouraged by the following factors:

1) a stable democratic government;

2) a policy design to attract foreign capital through tax incentives and duty waivers on imports;

3) high rates of return on investments;

4) a favourable climate and beautiful beaches;

5) accessibility.

The industry became so successful that by 1970, existing facilities became overstretched, creating the need for more basic infrastructure. Consequently in 1972 the area stretching from Cape Point to Kololi (and later extended to Brufut / Kartong as well as Barra Point) was designated a Tourism Development Area.

This TDA is formed by coastal stripped of some 750 to 800 m in width.

In 1972 the above area was designated a TDA a Tourism Liaison Board was set up comprising of:

• Permanent Secretary,
• Ministry for Local Government and Lands;
• Physical Planning Officer; Land Officer;
• Development Secretary;
• Deputy Secretary General;
• Permanent Secretary,
• Ministry of Agriculture;
• Tourism Adviser.

The TLB was charged with the responsibility of advising the Minister of State responsible for tourism on such matters as tourism legislation, tourism security and land use policy in tourism.

In respect of the latter, the Board was charged with the task of preparing draft for tourism related projects.

Therefore between 1975 and 1981, this Board among others accomplished the following:

• the preparation and implementation of the planning and building regulations for TDA;

• the development access roads;

• the provision of water and electricity;

• the identification and construction of beach facilities.

In November 1987, Cabinet agreed to a proposal to change the name of the Tourism Liaison Board to the present Tourism Area Development Board (TADB) with a reconstituted membership consisting of the following:

• Permanent Secretary,
• Ministry of Information & Tourism (Chairman);
• Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government & Lands (Deputy Chairman);
• Chief Executive Investment Board;
• Director of Tourism;
• President, Gambia Chamber of Commerce & Industry;
• Permanent Secretary, Minister of Trade Industry & Employment;
• Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government & Lands;
• Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information & Tourism (as Secretary).

The terms of reference of this Board are: 1. To advise the Minister of Information & Tourism on the management and development for TDA generally; 2. To consider detailed plans for development of areas designated as TDA; 3. To receive, consider and advise the Minister of Information & Tourism on applications from companies and individuals wishing to be allocated space within the TDA.

The Board is assisted by a Technical Committee in the processing of applications for land within the TDA. This Committee (which has since been disbanded to reduce bureaucratic red-tape and delay in the processing of applications for land) comprised of the following:

• Director of Physical Planning & Housing;
• Director of Tourism;
• Director of Lands and Surveys;
• Director of forestry;
• Managing Director - GUC;
• Chief Executive NIB.

With regards to the consideration and allocation of land within the TDA, the Board has set the following requirements and procedures:

1. all applications must provide a business registration certificate;

2. for groups of persons and companies, the must provide an article of association and a memorandum of incorporation;

3. the presentation of a feasibility study document;

4. a minimum deposit in local bank of 10% of the total financial cost of the proposed project.

Upon the fulfilment of these requirements, the Board processes the application and recommends it for approval. by Ministry of Tourism. With this assent to the Board’s recommendation, this Minister sends the application to the Minister for Local Government & Lands for his concurrence. Thereafter the Director of Lands & Surveys is instructed to convey approval to the applicant with conditions amongst which is a conservative clause stipulating the maximum heights of structures and the conservation of existing floral life as much as possible.

Leasing processes could start immediately after allocation of land is made but an understanding has been reached between the two Ministries (i.e. Ministry of Information & Tourism and Ministry for Local Government & Lands) that lease should not be granted until after completion of a significant level of development in respect of civil works by the applicant. This condition together with the 10% cash deposit requirement is deter land speculators from acquiring land within the TDA and converting it as collaterals in their commercial business transactions or freezing the desired speed of development in the TDA.

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