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I recently spent 2 weeks in the Gambia looking to develop some new products and events for our customers. My main objective is to bring sustainable tourism to life in a fun way in charter destinations and to engage with as many of our customers as possible. A great way to do this in the Gambia is through food - some of the local dishes such as yassa, benachin and domoda are delicious and when served on hotel buffets go down very well with holidaymakers.
With this in mind and with the high profile of cookery programmes in the UK, we decided to launch a new cookery excursion which will take customers to the Gambia is Good (GiG) farm where they will learn to cook a traditional dish with a local celebrity TV chef. a maximum of 16 people in the group provides a more meaningful experience and gives everyone the opportunity to participate as much or as little as they like.
Customers are greeted on arrival and proceed to the garden to pick the fresh vegetables that will be used for the dish of the day. They then help to wash, peel and chop the vegetables whilst learning exactly how to cook them so that they can recreate the dish once home in the UK. There is an added opportunity to tour the farm and learn about the solar cookers and dryers, the bio-gas system and the innovative farming methods that have helped over 1000 women farmers to train in crop cultivation and rotation.
Sitting down to lunch is great knowing that you've actually cooked it yourself and many people are amazed by how good it tastes. It's a brilliant way to support the GiG farm, to learn about the local food culture and to enjoy a fabulous half day out of the hotel. It's sustainability in action, sold to customers in a mainstream way that provides an enjoyable event for everyone.
Jo Baddeley current student
Sustainable Destinations Manager
Thomas Cook UK & Ireland