GTA implements measures to offset impact of COVID-19
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, March 26, 2020
The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) will soon implement several measures to assist those in the tourism sector to offset the impact of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This was disclosed by the GTA via a press statement on Thursday.
The policy changes will take effect from April 1, 2020, for six months. These include waiver of all GTA Registration and Licensing fees for tourism businesses, a waiver of all GTA-led training programmes and instituting and 50 percent subsidised training fee for the First Aid training led by recognised training institutions.
The release stated that the growth witnessed in the sector has slowed down due to the global outbreak of the virus. The sector grew 27.5 percent from January 2018 to December 2019 and by a further 8.4 percent in January 2020.
The ‘slow down’ is as a result of the closures of Guyana’s borders, the halt of international flights and a reduction in domestic flights, all necessary measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Director of the GTA Brian Mullis said that the sector is the most versatile of and is displaying their resiliency.
“At the GTA we are working to see how best we can support this sector at this time. We have already made adjustments to our internal policies to help support and working with the local sector and Ministry of Finance to see what further steps can be taken,” Mullis stated.
The GTA Director is urging those in the sector to postpone activities rather than cancel. He advised that they revise their cancellation policy to support the easy postponement of bookings. This, he noted is to allow for customers making early bookings for the upcoming holiday period.
“Once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover,” Mullis said in the statement. He further stressed that “this is uncharted territory for our sector. The magnitude of the impact on the travel and tourism sector will depend crucially on the spread of the virus, the duration of the outbreak and the measures undertaken to insulate Guyana. This is why we are doing all we can to support the sector during these trying times.”