Use of standards important for tourism industry

The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) is urging operators in the tourism sector to use the standards to better cater to the needs of travellers.

GNBS Public Relations Officer, Mr. Lloyd David recently engaged Mr. Mitra Ramkumar, President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) and GTA Manager of Product Development, Mr. Kamrul Baksh, in a webinar where the importance and benefits of standards in the industry were discussed.

“The GNBS has a number of standards which can help establishments within the sector to assist in their recovery and for them to bounce back and become more sustainable,” Mr. David said.

He outlined the health and safety, food safety and bed and breakfast standards that could be beneficial to operators who comply with them.

Mr. David noted that the oil and gas industry attracts the business traveller and standards could give hospitality providers an advantage.

“In terms of safety and in terms of tourism, when these diplomats and these visitors, visit us they expect a certain level of service,” he said.

THAG President’s Mr. Ramkumar acknowledged the point noting that standards add a level of authenticity that allows people to be comfortable.

“The business traveller in the tourism private sector is a huge market, and it is going to be more important now than ever before in Guyana’s history because of the oil and gas sector.  You will have a huge amount of expats in-country who are looking for something to do on a weekend, but they will not go out to places that do not have standards,” Mr. Ramkumar said.

Mr. David added that adhering to the various standards was not difficult. “The requirements are very simple to implement; you don’t have to take all together and try to do all at once.  You can focus on health and safety; you can focus on cleanliness; you can focus on how your staff interact with the tourists.”

The GTA’s Mr. Baksh also shared the sentiment. “Operators in the industry who might perceive that adoptions of standards might be a very technical and arduous process…a lot of the standards that are given or voted on by the ISO and the GTA are minimum requirements.”

Mr. Baksh noted that under its regulatory framework, the GTA has four broad categories under which businesses are licensed; tourism accommodation establishments, interior lodges and resorts, tour operators and individuals like tour guides.

This will soon be expanded to include experiential providers, destination management companies and outfitters.

“All of these areas will be added to the mandate of the Guyana Tourism Authority so that we could have a broad reach and to ensure that the majority of tourism operators are compliant with the laws,” Mr. Baksh said.

He added that technical assistance is provided to stakeholders to familiarise them with the standards.

The Authority has also embarked on standardised training and capacity building with curricula from the Caribbean Tourism Organization and The Adventure Travel Trade Association among others.