Since the 1990s, the Gambia has become a preferred destination for European women seeking sexual pleasure with available African ‘toy’ boys. It all started when international travel agencies from the UK introduced cheap package tours to this tiny West African country. After more than 30 years of receiving thousands of middle-aged women that arrived with this sex tourism intention, the Gambia government is tired of these UK women. Now, the former Briitish colony is seeking to attract “quality” visitors as this tiny African nation works to change its reputation as a sex tourism destination.
“What we want is quality tourists. Tourists that come to enjoy the country and the culture, but not tourists that come just for sex”, Abubacarr Camara, the director of the Gambia Tourism Board. With high unemployment rates and low wages in the Gambia, which has a population of 2.5million, a relationship with a wealthy Western mature woman is seen as a financial opportunity for these young men. The phenomenon has picked up a name for itself, ‘bumsters.’ The term is used to describe impoverished young Gambian men who seek out Western women with whom they can develop a relationship-typically arranged online.
While some use the beaches to locate older women who visit from Holland, Sweden, and Germany, The Sun previously reported that the ‘Senegambia strip,’ situated near the capital city, Banjul, has become a hotspot for British pensioners. The Gambia government has chosen to focus its attention on Gambia’s wildlife and cultural attractions.
The destination has over 300 species of tropical birds and two Unesco World Heritage sites that could boost its ‘quality’ tourism.Over the summer, the Gambia’s tourist officials traveled to the United Kingdom to meet with British Airways and tour operators to discuss increasing flights between London and Banjul to attract younger and wealthier tourists who would like a higher-class winter holiday.Tourism is currently the fastest growing sector in the country’s economy and makes up nearly 20 percent of GDP.