Oil revenues could realise tourism potential – Min. Gaskin
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 1, 2018
Revenues from oil and gas can be the catalyst for the growth of a number of industries, including tourism. This view was expressed by Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin.
The minister was addressing the opening of a one-day forum on oil and gas and tourism hosted by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) at the Regency Hotel, Georgetown.
Minister Gaskin noted successful oil discoveries have put Guyana on the map and revenues from the new industry could help the tourism sector reach its full potential.
“More and more people know where Guyana is. People are coming to Guyana and they are coming to Guyana because they see Guyana as a land of opportunity. So, that has a currency that can be exploited for tourism purposes,” Minister Gaskin said.
The minister also reiterated the government’s position that it will not become dependent on oil and gas at the expense of other industries.
“Once oil is produced, we know that there will be revenues going to government that are fairly substantial and that gives the government an opportunity, not just to spend money, but also to plan with confidence secure in the knowledge that our long-term national plan can be funded,” Minister Gaskin explained.
Director General of the GTA, Donald Sinclair said the forum seeks to have a structured reflection on the impact of oil and gas on tourism.
“What today’s forum attempts to do is to understand and explore some of the options available to a growing and developing sector in Guyana, the tourism sector,” Sinclair said.
Operators and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry were also briefed by the CEO of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Owen Verwey, who identified the challenges the sector faces and encouraged operators to utilise the opportunities to sell their products during international events hosted in Guyana.
ExxonMobil representatives shared the security and safety standards that hoteliers, restaurants and other industry service providers are expected to meet before oil companies use their services.
One of the Director of the Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA), Nigel Hughes, called for the development of infrastructure in the industry while Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Desmond Sears noted the advent of the oil and gas industry provided a great opportunity for tourism development.
Operators also heard from the Chair of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chambers (GOCEC), Manniram Prashad, on how they can capitalise on the current influx of business tourism that the country is experiencing.
Today’s forum is the first in a series of activities planned by the GTA and the Department of Tourism in observance of Tourism Month which is being observed under the theme “Promoting sustainability and celebrating diversity”.
Images by Jules Gibson.