Leeds Beckett University has awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University to Adama Bah, who has dedicated much of his life to responsible tourism, both in his home country of Gambia and internationally.
Born and raised in the Gambia, Adama is an alumnus from Leeds Beckett University’s MSc in Responsible Tourism Management course and has a long-standing relationship with the university.
Adama founded the West African branch of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, the Institute of Travel and Tourism of the Gambia and Camp Africa, an educational and cultural exchange programme.
Adama Bah said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive this award from such a great and prestigious university – Leeds Beckett. For years I have worked to offer my services selflessly to communities in the Gambia, to me, this award validates the need to give more than we take for development to take place in our world. I dedicate this award to communities struggling to make ends meet in the Gambia and wherever they are.
“I salute Leeds Beckett’s efforts to inspire and educate leaders of tomorrow so that they can make a positive difference in the world. With this, I promise not to disappoint your mission but to continue to be a shining example of it.”
Adama has also worked as a hotel manager, as a Gambia programme manager for the UK Travel Foundation and is currently engaged as a consultant by the International Trade Centre to advise on the development of their new tourism and youth development roadmap.
Sir Bob Murray CBE, Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University, said: “We are delighted to welcome Adama back to the university and confer this award upon him. Adama has retained strong links with Leeds Beckett University and we are very proud of his tireless work to embed responsible tourism in West Africa.”
In 2004, Adama was rewarded for his hard work by winning the “Greatest Contribution by a Person to Responsible Tourism” award at the prestigious World Travel Market in London.
A proud Gambian, he has worked extensively within the community in his country of birth and helped to initiate the ‘Gambia is Good’ project, which enables local farmers to sell their products to hotels and restaurants.
His collaborative work with Leeds Beckett has also helped to promote the work of the university on his home continent. Adama has worked with the university to promote and teach Responsible Tourism Management for students in West Africa and beyond. He has supported the delivery of 23 Commonwealth scholarships and numerous educational fieldtrips in The Gambia.
Since 2010, Adama, with a team of Leeds Beckett Responsible Tourism Management lecturers, students and alumni have been working on the development of a new Gambian natural and ethno-cultural community-based tourism experience.
The trip is a river-based excursion aimed at benefitting local communities that builds on the natural and cultural heritage of the River Gambia.
Although he has travelled across the globe, Adama has stayed true to his roots, and still lives in his country of birth alongside his wife, Lisong, and his family.