How TC Collapse Affects Gambia Hotels

What exactly happened?

What happened was to happen once. The largest and oldest tour operator in the world could not pull its current expenses for the maintenance of its business and went down. 

There are many reasons for this, board mistakes, wrong investments. But the main reason is the many online tour booking services, and most importantly, the hotels have become independent from the greedy tour operators.  

Just imagine, 20 years ago. A hotel in some Gambia, albeit an excellent one, with a beach, a pool and a restaurant. How could you find and book it sitting in your house, somewhere in the mountains of Scotland? No way. Only by buying a package from TC. And perhaps having been, having taken contacts, having seen, you could have organized your vacation yourself. Understandably, TC could dictate its terms to hotels. And make good money on it.

And now everything has changed. A computer, smartphone, found, copied, booked, a ticket, a plane - that's all, you are there, lie down from the pool, and chocolate boys and girls bring you food and drinks.

And why do you need to buy a package? Only if the package is cheaper then flight + hotel! And what is usually cheaper, buy directly or through an agent? The answer is known.

Why has TC collapse so painfully affected the Gambia?

The Gambia was not ready for such a turn of events. And it's not that the tour operator went bankrupt. Tour operators are many. The problem is that it was the tour operator, delivering 45% of tourists to the Gambia, and owning its own airline, which operates direct flights from the UK to Banjul, which in principle delivered all these 45%. And tickets for these flights were freely available, not only to buyers of tour packages, but also to independent travellers at affordable prices. And all of a sudden, these flights disappeared, and thousands of people planning their vacation found themselves in a half-hopeless situation. How to fly in?

The solutions would seem very simple. Well, if you can’t get a direct flight, ok, we’ll fly with a transfer. Or another charter, more expensive. For the package - there is another charter, it is almost the same money. If only a ticket - excuse me, the airline is not ours, we rent a flight, why should we sell you a cheap ticket if we can sell a package with a hotel?

Good, then flights with transfers. And here it seems like a bunch of options - TAP, Brussel, Morocco ... and the prices do not seem so scary? On the first day only, after the collapse.

And then it began to become clear that all these flights somehow quickly sold out. And only the last seats remained, not at all with excellent price. A couple more weeks - and these seats will not be. A regular flight is not a charter; it is not so quick to organize it; it takes time for a business plan, coordination. Six months at least. But the season - in a month. 

Who will suffer the most?

Certainly not the big hotels that work with tour operators. Additional charter flights are already being introduced, not very favorable, but at least some conditions for large hotels to accept new tourists are already offered. They will not stand empty.

But everyone else - who worked with independent travelers - will wait and loose. And it's not about the price. I saw already someone on the tourism forum offers 10 and 20% discounts. the fact is that getting into the Gambia will be very difficult. All regular flights from November to April will be sold out by mid-October. And charters are not interested in selling a separate ticket.

And as a result - to all small hotels, guest houses, no high season has yet shined this year. Only a tough competition among themselves for those single tourists who still decide to pay the space price for a ticket. Or appear on the other side of the world.

Have a good holidays and welcome to the Gambia!

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