Region 3 tourism body calls for retooling of services in sector

-aims to adopt virtual approach

On Tuesday, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond, the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG),) and representatives from Regional Tourism Committees virtually met to discuss the way forward for tourism, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his presentation, General Secretary of the Region Three Tourism Development Association, Mr. Dennis Mayers, said that way forward can be realised through technological transitions.

It was reported that several restaurants that catered specifically for indoor dining, were closed because of their inability to adapt to changing demands.

“It is estimated that 35 percent of restaurants have closed, specifically those who catered for indoor dinning and were unable to provide delivery services or outdoor dining,” Mr. Mayers said.

This resulted in major restaurants that were able to provide alternative services flourishing, including one fast food restaurant, which opened a new branch in the region to fill the gap.

“For those restaurants that have been closed; our discussions with a few of them, is with the hope of providing some form of delivery service or some courier service coming on stream, to assist them with delivery, so that they can begin reopening,” he added.

Moreover, all major events from April–September 2020, have been cancelled. Despite not being able to have the events physically, the Region is opting to introduce a technological solution.

“We are trying to see how we can adapt a virtual approach and have some events online.”

Unfortunately, the discussions were not as productive as hoped, due to some stakeholders’ reluctance to adapt to technology.

To allow the tourism sector to recover and develop, Mayers said that agencies must foster adoption to technology, train and retool staff, as well as, reposition, rebrand and redesign their business for driven market consumption, in the short and long-term.

“That has to take place for them to more or less come alive with what’s going on across the region.”

Further, he told the Minister and other representatives that to revive the tourism sector in the region, major financial support would be necessary.

He also noted that training for technological transitions would be needed.

Minster Walrond said that the Government is committed to assisting relevant stakeholders and the meeting provides a platform for an equitable response to the tourism sector.

“I can assure you that this [meeting] will be significantly considered, as Government finalises its plans for a national response to the recovery and development of the sector,” Minister Walrond said.

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