US Ambassador sees ‘incredible’ prospects for tourism in Guyana
United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch says the future of tourism in Guyana is bright, even as she commended the work of local tourism stakeholders.
The ambassador was speaking Monday evening at an event hosted at her residence in observance of World Tourism Day.
She said Guyana has been making significant strides in the sector and lauded the government for especially adapting to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That passion if you will, to transform this economic sector to take tourism and hospitality in Guyana to the next level and due to the lifting of COVID restrictions, combined with the tremendous economic boom here, it looks like there will be plenty of visitors coming to Guyana,” the US Ambassador said.
She noted government’s statistics which show that Guyana has already witnessed a 103 per cent increase in visitor arrivals between January and May this year, as well as the visit by National Geographic, HBO’s Dillon Efron and others who highlighted the ‘incredible tourism opportunities’ here.
“I want to encourage you to continue developing your products and to consider how you can help bring even more development to this sector at a time when you have thousands of business visitors who can easily be enticed to become tourists, if the right modernisation occurs to avoid missing out on market opportunities,” the ambassador noted.
She said the global tourism sector in 2019 (before the pandemic hit) was US$9 trillion and accounted for over 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP).
The average expenditure is US$1600.
The ambassador also shared some ideas for modernisation, based on feedback she received, which mostly “revolve around enabling online access to products and information, lowering the prices of excursions and facilitating easier payment systems.”
She said tourists have recommended that “lodges detail clear prices for services including site tours and food.”
“These ideas for modernisation won’t just benefit foreign tourists, they would directly benefit Guyanese and the technology is easy, it’s in existence and it’s ready to deploy, also how about offering more Guyanese products that appeal to tourists at places like the airports or local hotels and elsewhere,” Ambassador Lynch suggested.
She said the embassy supports local entrepreneurs and will be happy to collaborate and offer insights on the marketing of their products.
“Is it possible to have a greater use of online payment platforms, credit cards, maybe even mobile money, if you book a tour or rum tasting, for example…could payment be offered online for the tourist who will absolutely book more activities, if both booking and paying are made easy.”
Infrastructure and the availability of quality healthcare was also highlighted as being crucial to the tourism sector.
I know there are major projects in the works to improve the roads, bridges and airports as well as improve the provision of quality health care, I applaud these efforts of the Government of Guyana and I hope they do more in coming years as I know they have planned, Ambassador Lynch noted.
World Tourism Day was held under the Theme, “Re-thinking Tourism.”