Now is the best time to invest in tourism sector – President
Georgetown, GINA, January 22, 2014
Potential entrepreneurs are being encouraged to invest in the local tourism sector by President Donald Ramotar who said that it is now opportune to invest in the sector that contributes significantly to Guyana’s development.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ cocktail at the Palm Court Restaurant, Main Street, the President, reflecting on the plans for 2014, said “it is an exciting time for the industry,” and “tourism has a great future and will contribute in a major way to the economy”.
President Donald Ramotar addressing guests at the Ministry of Tourism’s Stakeholders’ Cocktail at Palm Court
He said that Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali have been tasked with putting up affordable proposals to help grow the sector at a more rapid pace. Tourism, the president added, is being looked at in a regional framework and government has been spending money to develop infrastructure to attract more overseas visitors. He pointed to the Guyana National Stadium and the Guyana International Conference Centre, both of which are attracting thousands of people and hosting major international events.
The Marriott Hotel, once completed and opened, as promised in August, will not only offer five-star accommodation, but also several high quality facilities. An expanded Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the president added, will see Guyana being poised to be a major hub for South America.
Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali addressing guests at the Ministry of Tourism’s Stakeholders’ Cocktail at Palm Court
Minister Ali called for closer communication and collaboration among stakeholders in the tourism sector which will redound to the benefit all eventually, and expressed his confidence in the sector’s growth for 2014.
“2014 should be the year of tourism and it has the capacity to contribute substantially to the economy”. Critical thinking is needed, the minister said, to move the rising sector forward.
Minister Ali outlined some of the plans such as the Guyana Gold Festival, a four- day all inclusive package for high-end tourists, a Tourism Ambassador Programme to be spearheaded by artiste Dave Martins, Drive Guyana, a safari type overland venture taking persons to communities such as Siparuta, a Rum, Rhythm and Food Festival, the expansion of Yachting, which will see an international investor committing to build a world class boat yard and docking facility, and a Caribbean Premier League (CPL) all inclusive of tickets and accommodation package.
COPA airlines Sales Manager Guillermo Gomez addressing guests at the Ministry of Tourism’s Stakeholders’ Cocktail at Palm Court
Minister Ali also made a pitch for the changing of marriage laws to facilitate marriage tourism. “The 14 days it takes to register a marriage should be changed to two days”. He revealed that in 2013, nine weddings alone attracted over 200 overseas guests each. This was a market waiting to be tapped into, said the minister.
There are also plans to capitalise on the upcoming Football World Cup and Olympics in neighbouring Brazil. He added that the National Geographic Traveler magazine which listed Guyana as one of the world’s top 21 must see destinations in 2014 will be filming another series on river monsters (a programme of deadly giant fish) in the next few months.
From left to right : President Donald Ramotar, Mrs Guillermo Gomez, COPA airlines Sales Manager Guillermo Gomez and Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali
Brief remarks were also given by Copa airlines’ sales manager, Guillermo Gomez who said that his company views Guyana as its top achievement for 2014, and it will contribute substantially to the development of the tourism sector.
Copa airlines earlier today, announced that it will begin flying from Panama to Guyana in July, twice weekly.
Also speaking briefly and welcoming Copa to the local aviation sector were CPL representative Peter Russell who outlined the impact that the series will have locally and regionally, Tourism and Hospitality association of Guyana President Kit Nascimento, Mahendra Bhoodoo of the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club and Harrynand Persaud of King’s Jewellery World.