President Ali stresses need for stronger tourism model to be established
Guyana’s tourism sector has seen rapid growth and expansion over the past few years. It has captured the attention of the global community, and Guyanese in the diaspora, who continue to travel to experience all Guyana has to offer.
With the surge of migrants into the country to experience the vast range of services and benefit from opportunities, the need for diverse and unique tourism products has become increasingly obvious.
It is against this backdrop, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali Saturday evening emphasised the need for Guyana to build a strong and resilient structure for its tourism model.
Speaking at the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) Annual President’s Award Dinner and Auction, President Ali said Guyana’s tourism sector has gained a lot of traction owing to local tourists uploading their adventures onto their social media pages.
Owing to the pervasiveness of social media, persons outside of Guyana became interested in its tourism products and travelled to take part in the experience.
The head of state expressed a lot remains to be done in Guyana, to successfully take advantage of the tremendous potential offered by the sector.
“We see tourism as a centre part of the growth story for our country. Tourism is going to be one of the main components of the structure of our economy, now and in the future. Tourism has an important place in the country…We have to now work on building a structure around this model because it has to be an economic model.
“For tourism to be successful, it has to fall into an economic model that allows it to grow, prosper, and expand itself. For that to happen, we have to have seamless coordination between government policy, tourism developers, and financial institutions,” Dr Ali underscored.
He pointed out that years ago, tourism did not have much impact as it does now. However, the understanding of the sector is changing, and more opportunities are now available.
“For a very long time, tourism was approached in a haphazard way…The model must bring a structure that brings along all the stakeholders, and this is what is key. The policy is important, but the policy is not the model. The model is what we want to implement, and what the core attributes of what we’re going to sell to the world will be. And the policy is what is going to support that model,” the president explained.
He highlighted that before the pandemic, tourism was one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, accounting for 10.3 per cent of the global gross domestic product; with a market estimated at some US $9 trillion and employing more than 300 million persons worldwide.
Tourism, therefore, has a massive ecosystem that surrounds it, the president added, while highlighting aspects of the tourism model in which Guyana can work to develop unique tourism products.
These include the addition of Guyana’s natural ecosystem into an urbanised tourism hub, integration of local production and stories with tourism products, partnership with other countries, emphasis on health and safety, infrastructure, improved standards, and better marketing.