Community-based tourism to boost Great Falls economy

─ govt invests $3M

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Village of Great Falls, also known as Mabura, located up the Demerara River (Region 10) is working to develop its community-based tourism project as a means of boosting the village economy.

This is according to Toshao of the village, Nicole Daniels, who told the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Wednesday, that the aim is to give tourists an authentic experience, while at the same time earning revenue for the community.

The site identified for the project is located about 15 minutes up the river from the village. It has a waterfall and a mountain surrounded by lush greenery.

Toshao Daniels explained that village tours, nature walks, sports fishing, hiking and kayaking are some of the activities tourists will experience once the project is rolled out by year-end.

She said, through the government’s Capital Grant of $3M, in 2018, the Village Council started the construction of three of four cabins at the site, using traditional materials. The Council also purchased an outboard engine and will be acquiring a boat for the project.

“This year we will put our Presidential Grant towards completing the project. We want to get this project up and running as soon as possible. We want to construct a main-building for the kitchen, additional rooms and other facilities for our visitors.  Currently, we have tourists coming into the village to visit our falls, but they just come for a day because we don’t have the facilities for them to stay [longer].”

Apart from generating income, this project will also support the preservation of the culture of the Indigenous people living in the village, as there will be craft and traditional food on sale accompanied with entertainment such as traditional songs and dances. It will also encourage cross-cultural understanding between the villagers and the visitors, environmental protection and enhanced livelihood of the people.

On Wednesday, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister of Public Affairs, Dawn Hastings-Williams visited and inspected the project.

Minister Allicock commended the community for pushing ahead with the venture and urged them to invest in a quality tourism product with established standards for international tourists.

The minister said community-based tourism is something the coalition government has been supporting in its quest for economic independence within hinterland communities.

Minister Hastings-Williams encouraged them to ensure they always utilise the traditional materials to build the facilities because ‘tourist appreciate nature.’

Great Falls Village is a small Indigenous community located on the bank of the Demerara River with a population of about 300 persons. The community has two Nursery and Primary schools, a health centre and a village office. Its main economic activities are logging and traditional hunting and fishing.

Synieka Thorne.

Images: Leon Leung.

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