Tourists from the United Kingdom have began flying back to The Gambia, a week after 1000s of them were evacuated by holiday company, Thomas Cook.
The evacuation exercise was necessitated by political uncertainty in the lead-up to the expiration of former President Yahya Jammeh who had at the time refused to cede power. Jammeh lost presidential polls in December 2016.
The tiny West African nation referred to as ‘The Smiling Coast’ of Africa is known to be a tourist destination due to its beaches. Another UK holiday company, Gambia Experience, posted a flight full of passengers heading back to The Gambia.
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The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had also issued a travel alert warning tourists to either leave the country or to remain in relatively safer areas. They also expressly cautioned against travel to the country.
That travel alert was lifted after Jammeh accepted to step down and left the country a week ago. He is currently exiled in Equatorial Guinea.
Due to the political uncertainty as Jammeh’s tenure ended on January 19, the then president-elect and opposition coalition candidate, Adama Barrow, took his oath of office in neighbouring Senegal. He returned to the country on Thursday January 27, six days after Jammeh’s exit.