“Take charge and benefit from your tourism experience”
─ Minister Walrond tells Moraikobai residents
The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) is currently working with several Indigenous communities across Guyana to develop their tourism products and establish themselves as tourist destinations.
On a recent visit to Moraikobai, Region Five, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, MP, told residents that it is important that they benefit from their tourism product.
“Tourism in your communities must be owned and led by you. We have heard stories in the past where operators brought visitors to Amerindian villages and there were no tangible benefits to the residents,” the minister said.
She said it is for this reason that the model of community- led and community- owned tourism was developed.
“We want you to be involved integrally in the business aspect of your tourism. The Guyana Tourism Authority will assist you with developing your product and will provide the necessary training however this aspect of tourism is a community undertaking.”
Moraikabai recently commissioned its Ubudi Eco Lodge and product development officers have been working with the community providing training in various areas.
“I therefore want you from Moraikobai, to see yourself as having a critical role in Guyana’s Tourism. What you do here matters for yourselves and for the brand, destination Guyana, I therefore urge you to work diligently in providing the best experience for visitors to Moraikobai.
“In short we want you to take charge of and benefit from your tourism experience.”
While speaking to the residents, the minister also noted the services provided by the Small Business Bureau (SBB) such as training in business plan writing, proposal writing and marketing and providing small business grants.
This year, $250 million has been budgeted for small business development, from which grants will be facilitated.
“We want residents of Moraikobai to also benefit from the resources of this fund. I encourage you to grab this opportunity with both hands. I know some of you are involved with timber, others with craft and other activities the Small Business Bureau can provide you with the requisite support to enhance those business endeavour.”
Soon there will be a SBB One Stop shop in Region Five and persons can register with the bureau and apply for business grants.
The minister also spoke of the Guyana National Bureau of Standards and the standards that have been developed in various sectors to ensure local products and services align with international standards.
“There is a code of practice that establishes a minimum requirement for the manufacture and production of wooden craft items, there is also a specification for cassava, if that cassava is to be supplied to consumers after packaging and preparation, likewise there is a standard for cassava bread and related products intended for human consumption.”
There are specifications for Indigenous furniture including bamboo, tibisiri, nibi, among other materials.
“These standards and specifications are intended to establish a quality approach to production and manufacture of these products with the aim of ensuring consistency and predictability, compliance to these standards will facilitate, if desired, accessing external markets for some of your products.”
Moraikobaiwhich produces timber, is also looking to add value to its produce, and also looking at alternative activities like sculpting, bamboo craft and alternative livelihoods.
One resident, Herbineta Andrews told DPI that she is pleased with the efforts being made by the government to help develop the community.
Minister Walrond also took the opportunity to urge residents to get vaccinated to control the spread of COVID-19.