Minister Gaskin hopeful tourism would be prioritised by all 10 regions- as eight receive tourism awards
GINA, GUYANA, Saturday, November 26, 2016
Minister of Business, with responsibility for tourism, Dominic Gaskin, while congratulating the awardees at the Ninth Annual Awards ceremony of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) on Friday evening, said that large scale investments in the sector are a priority if the tourism sector is to be viable.
Speaking at the event at the Marriott Hotel, Minister Gaskin noted that recognition is good and must be given at both the business and personal level, adding that, “The tourism industry is only good as the people that make it happen.”
The Business Minister said that the sector has faced many challenges and other sectors have not developed the way they should after 50 years of Independence. “A lot of persons are losing interest in their own country and tourism cannot thrive if there is discontent,” Gaskin pointed out.
Minister Gaskin is hopeful that tourism will become a permanent item on all 10 Administrative Regions’ councils and that they will make the right decisions that will result in their respective economy thriving. He noted that tourism has the potential; and that it can be the solution for unemployment among young people.
The event also saw in attendance Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, Director of the GTA, Indranauth Haralsingh, President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) Andera de Caires, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and other tourism sector stakeholders.
Awards were presented in eight categories. Taking away the Tourism Entrepreneur of the year was Chief Executive Officer of the Roraima Group of Companies, Captain Gerald Gouveia. The People’s Choice Award for Responsible Tourism was awarded to Iwokrama while Tour Guide of the Year was copped by Waldyke Prince. Rewa Village, North Rupununi, Region Nine won the Most Outstanding Community Tourism Project.
Outstanding Contribution to Tourism by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) or volunteer group was awarded to South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS) while Cara lodge Hotel received the Service in Tourism Accommodation Establishment award.
For Service in Tourism (transportation), Obama Boat Service copped the award while the Investment in Tourism prize was won by Palm Spring Hotel.
Meanwhile Entrepreneur of the Year Awardee, Captain Gouveia, said “that it was an honour to receive the award and my team that I work with, makes everything possible. Guyana is a beautiful country. I take great pride in creating jobs in Guyana, to give back to Guyana, helping to make Guyana great, to save lives, and promoting Guyana on the international scene. We have 269 Guyanese who work with us every day to make sure that everything goes smoothly at our respective businesses, and the little things that we do every day, will ensure that we make Guyana great.”
Leroy Ignacio, who accepted the award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism by an NGO/Volunteer group, SRCS said, “This award means a lot for us and we are thankful that we were recognised. I am also thankful to the respective entities that would have helped us along the way and those that will continue to help us.”
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative, Sophie Makonnen, said that Guyana has the potential to become a major eco- tourism destination, and that there is always room for growth.
Makonnen noted that public/private partnerships are important for the industry to become sustainably viable. The IDB representative added that tourism stakeholders must decide what is it that they want for the sector, and then begin to work on achieving that goal.
THAG’s president de Caires, noted that partnerships are really important in the tourism sector. The THAG President made reference to a recent trip to Warapoka Village in Region One and about the villagers’ eagerness to get involved in tourism. Hence partnerships will have to take place to ensure that it happens, she stated.
De Caires said that the “people make Guyana special and when one looks good, we all look good.”
The award ceremony is part of the Tourism Month activities which are being held under the theme “Tourism for All- Building Partnerships for Tourism Development”.
By Gabreila Patram