Americas can catalyse their tourism potential by increasing annual tourist arrivals-President David Granger

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Historic Organisation of American States’ (OAS) Twenty Fourth Inter-American Tourism Congress got underway at the Marriot Hotel today with President David Granger urging the gathering of Ministers and High-level officials to seek solutions to ensure increased annual tourist arrivals to the Americas.

President David Granger.

“This Congress can do so by: protecting the Americas’ natural capital by developing a concerted approach to the environment; promoting increased connectivity between tourist destinations by encouraging the development of infrastructure; and providing smaller states, particularly the small-island states of the Caribbean, with easier access to capital for investments to build a more resilient industry,” the President said.

Noting that small island states often lack the resources to finance their own air and shipping lines that can contribute to new routes being exploited to boost tourist arrivals, the President observed that “Travel needs to be cheaper, easier and faster.  Destinations need to be connected efficiently to make tourism more competitive with our parts of the world.”

“The Americas can straddle the sea and integrate the continents, North and South through information and communications technology,” the Head of State added and urged the Congress to consider charting a roadmap to create a single Information Communication Technology (ICT) Space of the Americas.

President Granger also encouraged the protection of the region’s tourism assets from the threats of transnational crime such as trafficking in persons, illicit drugs and cybercrime. This he said will ensure safer destinations for visitors and citizens alike.

“The Americas are endowed with un-spoilt islands, highlands, grasslands, wetlands, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and rainforests, which are the habitat of unmatched flora and wildlife. The Americas must protect and preserve these priceless assets for the benefit of present and future generations,” he said.

The President noted that the Americas, despite their just wars of independence and a few civil wars, are a hemisphere of relative peace in today’s turbulent world and that the promotion of sustainable tourism initiatives and the marketing of the Americas as a ‘zone of peace,’ in a world with many wars and conflicts should be a subject for consideration at the Congress.

“The protection of the Americas’ patrimony – its natural assets, its cultural diversity and this blissful state of peace – is the bedrock of sustainable tourism. The tourism industries must be protected from the perils of transnational threats such as cybercrime and trafficking in drugs, guns and people. Security cooperation against transnational threats will make our societies safer for our citizens and our visitors,” the President said.

Guyana is hosting the high-level congress for the first time. The meeting which is being held at the Guyana Marriott Hotel (March 21-22) under the theme “Connecting the Americas through Sustainable Tourism.”  is seeing the attendance by several international and regional tourism officials.

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