The Gambia, officially the Republic of the Gambia, is a country in West Africa that is almost entirely surrounded by Senegal with the exception of its western coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest country within mainland Africa.
The tourism industry today in the Gambia started when a party of 300 Swedish tourists arrived in 1965. That pioneering trip was organised by a Swede named Bertil Harding together with the tour operators Vingresor.
It was seen as an ideal place to escape the harsh winter months of Scandinavia where Europeans would enjoy not only sun, sand and beaches but also experience the excitement of a real African holiday.
It also offered new opening for an affordable holiday to increasing numbers of traveling Europeans.
The number of visitors increased from 300 tourists in 1965 to 25,000 visitors in 1976. The number of tourists has continued to rise sharply throughout the years, and as the government is eager to diversify the economy, it recognised tourism as a potential major foreign exchange source of revenue.
However, despite increasing popularity as a tourist destination, infrastructure development has been slow.