The 49-year-old father-of-three longs for the old days, when he could make $300 a week selling his sculptures as souvenirs. But these are lean times and now he's lucky if he takes home $20 a week. 

"It is very slow," he says as he adds the delicate finishing touches to a traditional drum made of wood and cattle hide. "I don't remember, ever, it being like this."

"Things were nice before the election," he continues, referring to the vote in December when the country's opposition candidate beat the incumbent, Yahya Jammeh, who had been in power since leading a military coup in 1994. Jammeh responded by rejecting the result, although his attempts to hold on to power were thwarted by the regional bloc ECOWAS.

"A day, I used to sell more than 10 sculptures," Sidibe explains. "[But] I haven't sold anything the last five days. At most I sell one sculpture a week now. It is very stressful and hard."

Too low for the high season

February and March are typically the high season for tourism in this tiny sun-soaked West African country, as European tourists flee the cold winters of the northern hemisphere. But that changed when the elections were scheduled for December.

WATCH: New Gambian government hopes to revive tourism (2:18)

The country witnessed a hard fought campaign as, in an effort to unseat Jammeh, the opposition formed a coalition behindAdama Barrow. Western embassies in the capital Banjul started issuing statements advising their citizens who wished to visit the country to exercise caution.

After the electoral commission declared Barrow the winner, Jammeh refused to step down. Those embassies then warned their citizens to stay away.

As the political deadlock dragged on and ECOWAS threatened to send in troops, the embassies evacuated their people.

"A total of 30 flights [a week] from Europe used to land at Banjul bringing in foreign tourists," explains Adama Njie, the director of marketing at The Gambia's tourism board. He is trying to find ways to bring those flights - and their passengers - back.

"After the political impasses, all the flights stopped," says Njie, raising his index finger to emphasise the point. "Hotel occupancy went from 98 percent to zero. Absolute zero. That was beyond shocking to everyone."