Tourism is set to benefit through The Gambia’s re-entry to the Commonwealth after five years, according to a leading specialist operator.

The Gambia Experience reports hotels are already experiencing high demand a year on from the election of the west African nation’s first democratic president since gaining independence in 1965.

Former president Yahya Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years amid claims of human rights abuses, pulled the country out of the Commonwealth in 2013, denouncing it as a “neo-colonial institution”.

Jammeh was defeated in presidential elections in December 2016 by a coalition of opposition parties headed by Adama Barrow.

The Gambian foreign ministry said. “The Commonwealth being a champion of small states, we expect advice on political, economic and social development issues and technical assistance.”

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said: “When I visited the country last year, I saw huge enthusiasm for the values and opportunities offered by our modern diverse Commonwealth.”

The Gambia Experience managing director Chris Rowles said: “An increasing number of our customers are looking for something more than a traditional beach holiday and our Boutique and Unique properties offer endless combinations to try.

“As a specialist we are always looking for new possibilities to cater to our customers’ desire to explore, whilst still catering for the sun worshipper.”