Moraikobai to become tourist destination – Govt invests $5m – Community urged to get ready

DPI Guyana, Friday, May 18, 2018

Residents of Moraikobai, the only Indigenous Village located in the Mahaicony River, Region Five were urged to mobilise and take full advantage of the tourism product being developed in their community.

This charge was made by Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, who along with the Guyana Tourism Authority Director, Brian Mullis and Wilderness Explorers Chairman, Tony Thorne conducted a follow-up visit on Thursday 17.

Minister Allicock encouraged the resident to further equip themselves with the necessary skills that will ensure the best product is delivered to tourists.

The minister explained, “You need to understand the laws of the community. You must understand the business of tourism, protocol and how we treat the tourist. You must understand hospitality and everyone must know first aid. You must also be able to provide what is a balanced diet for your customers and know the value of the foods that you eat.”

He also charged the villagers to become au fait with the industry’s business aspect, “Where are the markets? How do you sell? How do you provide the best package?” He noted that proper management, transparency and accountability is also a key to ensuring sustainability of the project.

GTA’s Director. Mullis said that his department is looking forward to partnering with communities like Moraikobai to take community-based tourism higher up the scale, where the focus will also be on community owned and led tourism.

“So how can we take examples from Surama and Rewa and help other communities and maximise those social, cultural and conservations related to tourism. More and more travellers want to meet local people, learn how they live and engage in the activities that you engage in your daily lives and because of that wealth of natural and cultural heritage that you have with the animals, the fish in the rives and the cultural, people want to experience those things and you should be able to offer those opportunities and put it in a way that meet travellers’ needs.”

Wilderness Explorer’s Toney Thorne said the community is on the right track to developing a tourism product that can meet market needs. He urged the residents to look at the indirect benefits because not everyone will be able to work at the lodge itself, but there will be a need for cleaners, cooks, caretakers, persons to provide craft, food items among others.  Also, he added, in the developmental stages, there will be a need for carpenters, electricians, plumbers, labourers and persons to provide material for the building’s construction.

The government, through the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, has set aside $5Million to begin the project, of which $500,000 was handed over to the community for land clearing.

Toshao Colin Adrian explained that the area identified for the construction of the eco-lodge was cleared. The facility will be equipped with nine cabins, a bar, dining area and a craft centre. It will also have a library where materials will be available on the history of the village.

Adrian said that the villagers are eagerly awaiting the completion of the project, as it will create jobs and improve their standard of living.

By Synieka Thorne

Images by Derrick Bridgemohan