Increasing tourism products, marketing among GTA’s priorities

-new Deputy Director

Newly appointed Deputy Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr. Kamrul Baksh plans to steer the sector through the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that preparations are in place for a successful comeback.

In a recent interview with DPI. Mr. Baksh, who officially started his new post on December 1, said while the pandemic has shocked the tourism sector, the GTA is using this downtime to streamline. 

“It’s the hardest hit economic sector … and what we need to do is to prepare tourism, businesses, communities, private sector alike, to ensure that they are in a state of readiness and also to get that assistance that they need through this really challenging period,” Mr. Baksh said.

With the current influx of major infrastructure investments that will benefit the sector, tourism must “scale-up” the quality of its products and services, he said.

“We have a flurry of tourism investments coming on board with the accommodation sector being increased by 2000-plus rooms, which will have gainful employment of about 3,000 persons. So, those persons who are going to stay at those lodgings would need activities or experiences when they are here in Guyana,” Mr. Baksh explained.

Consequently, the sector needs to offer more experiences that will make Guyana an attractive choice when persons book their first post-pandemic overseas vacation.

“What we want to do is bridge the gap of accessible products so we are looking for – apart from the Seven Curry, the Indigenous experiences – how we can improve and scale up, increase the number of products that we have here,” he added.

To this end, Mr. Baksh believes a more coordinated marketing effort is needed.

“What are stakeholders’ role in marketing? How can we scale-up that? How can we reach other mediums so that our beautiful destination is out there and to be the destination of choice in a post COVID-19 world?” These, he said, are among the considerations that must be examined. 

In the meantime, the GTA has employed a roster of other measures, including training, and implementing Covid precautionary measures, some tailored to the industry to ensure its phased reopening is effective.

Mr. Baksh is tasked with industry training, licensing, operations and finance and supporting product and donor development at the GTA.