Gambia attracted a record number of tourists last year despite the collapse of Thomas Group in a huge boost for the country’s tourism sector. 

Tourist arrivals rose 13% to 235,788 visitors in 2019 from the year before, according to data from the Gambia Tourism Board.

The increase was fueled by a fourfold rise in visitors from Germany after tour operators added more flight connections between the two countries. The country also received more arrivals from the Netherlands.

“It’s the reason why you do not see the big impact of Thomas Cook pulling out,” Ida Jeng Njie, who heads the tourism board’s international operations, told Bloomberg in an interview. 

The Gambia’s tourism sector used to rely heavily on the U.K. based tour operator Thomas Cook that flew in 45% of tourists to the country. 

Arrivals from the U.K. dropped by 16% in 2019 after the operator filed for bankruptcy. 

Rival tour operator TUI UK Ltd. has signed a contract with the Gambian government to fill the gap left by Thomas Cook. 

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