Nature trail in Mainstay/Whyaka to boost tourism sector

Community-based tourism will provide various opportunities for residents

Tourists will soon have the opportunity to explore and learn more about the traditional values and culture of the Indigenous people in Mainstay/Whyaka, Region Two, as the nature trail is almost completed.

Tourists will get a unique travel experience thanks to this venture.

The community is embarking on several developmental initiatives to drive economic growth, community development, and improve the livelihoods of the residents.

A section of the trail

As tourism plays an integral role in transforming the economy, Mainstay/Whyaka remains keen that community-based tourism and the nature trail will help to foster sustainable growth in the sector.

Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI) Monday last, Toshao, Yvonne Pearson (MP) highlighted that the nature trail will be completed soon and is part of efforts to transform tourism there.

Toshao of Mainstay/Whyaka, Yvonne Pearson at one of the ant nests

The goal is to provide travelers with a genuine experience while also generating income for the local economy as well as aid the preservation of Amerindian culture.

When the nature trail is opened next month-end, Toshao Pearson explained that some of the experiences tourists can expect include village tours, camping, village culture and tradition, and nature hikes.

“We want to share with people, our visitors, traditional knowledge and that is why we say community tourism. Traditional knowledge in the way how we used to use the trees, the forest, and medicinal plants, we want to share with people. So, when we take you to the park, we will be telling you our stories,” the Toshao noted.

A charm plant

In addition, she said tourists will be provided with information on how charm or Bena as Amerindians refer to the plant, can be utilised in the traditional way.

Some 25 residents of the community are undergoing continuous training sessions in aquaculture, tour guiding, tourism and hospitality, among others.

“We want to build the capacity of all these 25 persons and they can fit anywhere. That is what we are trying to do,” Toshao Pearson pointed out.

Some of the individuals will guide visitors along the trail and provide valuable information about the various trees and medicinal plants.

A silver balli tree along the nature trail

“And how we used to use them for hunting, fishing, or whatever it is. We’re bringing back that tradition, information that we want to share for people to know that we are here and still knowledgeable of our traditional ways of life,” she added.

The guesthouse at Lake Mainstay will also be extended.

The benab that will be used for camping, rest stops and other purposes

In its pursuit to promote healthy food, the farming community has intentions to serve indigenous foods to visitors fresh from the farm.

A medicinal plant

Toshao Pearson emphasised that, “We’re also talking about cassava processing. We want to take people to see where the vegetables are coming from when we serve them. While we are looking at economic developments for our people and job opportunities, we are also promoting healthy food. That is our aim.”

Other initiatives include the marine cage culture, implementation of climate-smart agriculture practices which include a shade house to cultivate crops that are in high demand and the launch of the new bottled water.

Nature trail in Mainstay/Whyaka

The community continues to create avenues for the residents to be fully involved in the economic opportunities to develop their economy. This will also help the residents to be self-sufficient and food secure. The government continues to support efforts to promote the tourism industry throughout the country, with focused initiatives benefitting all Guyanese.