Tourism ‘a force for good in Guyana’
─ ‘Calendar of Activities’ for Tourism Awareness Month launched
DPI, Guyana, Friday, November 1, 2019
November is Tourism Awareness Month, a period that seeks to promote Guyana as a tourism destination. The calendar of events was launched on Thursday, under the theme, ‘Tourism is a force for good in Guyana’.
At the media launch, held at the Cara Lodge, Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Brian Mullis noted tourism is continuously becoming an essential value-added sector in Guyana, requiring increased investment.
According to Mullis, the average cost for a visitor to come to Guyana, as of last year, is $220,000. In this regard, he noted that for 2018, visitors have helped to create 22,000 jobs. Moreover, the industry invested approximately $62.6B directly into Guyana’s economy, making tourism the second-largest export sector in the country.
“GTA would like to highlight the importance of the continuous improvements that are required to maintain our positions as one of the leading tourism destinations globally,” Mullis told the gathering at the launch.
For 2019, Guyana has been recognised as the ‘Number one Eco-Tourism destination’ in the world, the ‘Best in Destination Stewardship’, and a ‘Top Ten Sustainable Destination’ in the world.
Some of the major activities planned for the month include the Agro- Tourism Exhibition and the Tourism Expo, among others.
New initiatives will also be implemented, one of which is a ‘Mystery Shopping’ – where individuals will be hired “to go in and experience certain services and items that business have to offer. This is being done so we could get a better feel of how effective some of the training programmes that were implemented have been, in terms of improving customer service and other standards to meet international tourism export standards,” Mullis explained.
There will also be an ‘I Love Guyana’ Video Series and logo campaign based on the pillars of tourism that make Guyana unique. These pillars are Culture and Heritage, Active exploration – birding, nature and wildlife and S.A.V.E – Travel which is Scientific Academic, Volunteer and Educational Travel.
New venture being introduced also include ‘Guyana’s Official Rum Route’, a ‘Day Tour to Moraikabai’, and a ‘Seven Curry Tour’. The GTA is also working on launching some new products in collaboration with several communities, including Wakapoa, Chinapou, Karassabai, and Warapoka.
Also speaking the event was President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, Mitra Ramkumar.
He shared some other highlights for the month; the annual gastronomical event ‘Restaurant Week’, which will be hosted from November 22 to December 1, while the Annual publication ‘Explore Guyana 2020’ will be launched at the World Travel Market in London.
THAG is also working on a new initiative to develop the tourism sector, the implementation of Tourism Police. “THAG is trying to have an agreement signed with the Guyana Police Force so that we can see the realisation of Tourism Police for tourist zones and sights also exchange of training on both fronts and if there is any incident involving a guest or an employee an owner or a contractor that it’s dealt with expeditiously,” Ramkumar explained.
He opined that similarly, as the oil and gas industry is being viewed as a new frontier for Guyana, so should the tourism sector. “With the fact that Guyana is now going to be, it is a new oil and gas frontier; we see tourism as a new frontier industry for Guyana, because these two industries have so many synergies. They mesh well… the oil and gas industry as well can create the revenue to market our country and tell the world that we are the number one tourism destination in the world.”
Director-General of Tourism Department, Ministry of Business, Donald Sinclair noted the positive impact of the ten regional tourism committees. These groups, he explained, were invited to propose tourism awareness activities during the month-long observance and promotion. “[The] Regions are becoming more conscious of what they have from a tourism standpoint and more so what they need to do raise those standards and to make their regions more ‘visitable,” Sinclair said.
The Director-General noted that it is also essential to recognise the diversity of Guyana’s tourism product. “We have to bear in mind that Guyana as a country has much more to offer than a single attraction [Kaieteur Falls] and there are attractions in different areas.
To learn more about what is happening during Tourism Awareness Month, check out the GTA’s Facebook page for the latest updates.
Images: Keno George