Greater ecotourism initiatives for hinterland in 2017
GINA, GUYANA, Friday, November 18, 2016
More emphasis will be placed on advancing ecotourism in the hinterland as part of an overall effort to exploit Guyana’s tourism potential, according to Director General of Tourism, Donald Sinclair.
Sinclair told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that previously, focus on ecotourism had been limited. He explained that eco-tourism, is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry because of Guyana’s diverse flora and fauna, and beautiful waterfalls, rivers and creeks.
The Tourism Ministry recognises that Guyana’s tourism products are based on nature, culture and adventure, and these can boost the country’s economic growth.
“It will be a means of generating revenues for small communities, generating money for persons in remote locations, once they are trained, once there is a product that is market ready, a product that is viable and is a means of keeping Guyana as a green destination that offers nature to visitors who are looking for that kind of experience,” Sinclair explained.
Guyana must become a country where high standards of environmental policies are applied to all aspects of its natural resource utilisation, and management for significant eco-tourism development, especially in the hinterland, Sinclair pointed out.
“Given the rate at which deforestation is taking place in other countries, given the way there seems to be a global anxiety with what is
happening with nature, about the disappearance of species, we in this part of the world, the Amazon, can highlight and promote that aspect of our green destination; birds, wild life and biodiversity for our advantage without destroying those products,” the Director General explained.
Support from the Indigenous communities is essential for the eco-tourism development. It is equally necessary that social partnerships are encouraged between the Indigenous people and private investors so that these communities can foster their own direct involvement in the industry.
“Before tourism can benefit Indigenous people, there must be fundamental institutional strengthening. This requires a participatory approach that must be applied through direct discussion, education and practical training programmes. Amerindian groups should also be empowered financially and otherwise, to start their own tourist ventures in a small and manageable way.”
The national protected areas system has been implemented to protect Guyana’s tourism products while the Tourism policy will be completed soon. The latter will facilitate the licencing of tour operators, and the building eco-tourist resorts, among other aspects.
By: Ranetta La Fleur