THAG to increase members as sector expands

The Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) is currently working to increase its membership as the local tourism sector expands.

Executive Director, Oslyn Kirton noted that the current members are mainly from the accommodation sector such as hotels, restaurants, domestic and international air carriers, tour operators, and even insurance companies and commercial banks.

She noted, however, that membership can be extended to other players in the tourism sector.

“Over the years… we kind of kept it in direct tourism, we cannot do that anymore. There are so many persons offering services within the industry, you have the caterers, you have the persons who do event planning, persons who…rent equipment for events,” Kirton said.

Executive Director, THAG, Oslyn Kirton

The association will now be open to offering membership to include those that offer landscaping and boat services, as well as all others who supply to the industry, including farmers.

The membership structure also caters for students.

“We are currently restructuring and part of that restructuring is starting with letting persons know, who we are, what we do, and what we intend to do in the near future for the industry and for our members,” the director stated.

The association will also be focusing on training, which is important to meeting the needs of the expanding tourism and hospitality sector.

“We have been looking at training. 2000 – 2005 hotel rooms coming into the industry within another 18 months to two years. We have to be ready. We are not ready. We have been haemorrhaging staff currently to other industries and in order for us to be able to provide a proper service we have to replenish that staff….And then, we have to prepare for all the other needs that are going to come down the pipeline,” Kirton noted.

Additionally, training will be done in culinary arts, bartending, mixology, and other skills.

Health and safety will be addressed, while the existing standards will be reviewed and upgraded through collaboration with other partners.

The association is also partnering with the Barbados Coalition of Services Industries Inc. (BCSI). Executive Director, Michelle Smith-Mayers is assisting THAG with achieving its strategic objectives.

THAG is a not-for-profit association that serves and represents Guyana’s tourism and hospitality sector.  Its mandate is to promote sustainable tourism development, by fostering professionalism throughout the industry, ensuring quality service for its clients, and providing benefits to its members while collaborating with relevant government institutions.