Collaborative approach must be taken to sustain tourism industry – Min. Rajkumar
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, May 14, 2020
As Guyana and the rest of the world battle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) industries across the globe have been impacted, particularly the tourism sector.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Business’ Department of Tourism, in association with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Organisation of American States (OAS) hosted a virtual seminar under the theme “Lockdown not shutdown, keeping the tourism industry alive,” where long-term ideas were discussed to sustain the tourism industry.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Business, the Hon. Haimraj Rajkumar, Minister of Public Telecommunications, the Hon. Catherine Hughes, representatives of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Ministry of Public Health, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and several other regional stakeholders.
Minister Rajkumar who has responsibility for tourism, noted that that the presence of COVID-19 in Guyana and the wider Caribbean has had a significant effect on the tourism industry.
He urged stakeholders to brainstorm “on how to sustain the industry.”
“Our contributions today will impact significantly in navigating the challenges in the tourism sector we are now facing,” the business minister said.
It was highlighted that collaboration is crucial in recovering the industry which relies heavily on travel.
Director-General of the Department of Tourism, Donald Sinclair noted that “sessions such as this are very important as it serves to help understand the current condition and find adaptive strategies going forward.”
This was reemphasised by CTO representative Neil Walters. He said the Caribbean body recognises that it is very critical for any stakeholder in the industry to recover from the pandemic since no one sector is going to be able to recover on its own.
“So, collaboration in all forms, whether it is internationally, regionally or nationally, is very important. We think initiatives like this are very worthy of our support,” Walters said, further expressing his hope that the consultations continue.
Across the globe, the pandemic has halted international, regional and in some countries, domestic travel to a standstill, leaving airports closed and many hotels empty. While many are hopeful that international travel bans are lifted, Guyana was advised to try to “coexist” with the novel coronavirus.
The meeting also saw presentations from several stakeholders outlining long term plans on moving forward post COCOVID-19.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Hon. Catherine Hughes advised that this time be used to market Guyana’s tourism products using the internet. She highlighted that several internet platforms could be utilised to expand the country’s tourism reach.
In 2019, Guyana was named as one of the top eco-tourism hotspots in the world.