Govt aiming to inspire Guyanese to explore local destinations
With Guyana on the brink of massive transformations and development in its tourism sector, the PPP/C Government is working to promote domestic tourism and is urging Guyanese to visit more local destinations.
This plea was made by Tourism Minister, Oneidge Walrond, on Thursday at the launch of the fourth video of the “Guyana: Yours to Discover” series, titled “Colours of the Rainforest” produced by Captain Michael Charles.
Minister Walrond noted that there is a “…new thrust towards inspiring locals – Guyanese – to explore our beautiful country by spending more time visiting local destinations.”
According to the Tourism Minister, with international travel restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is an opportune time to promote domestic tourism. She noted that the concept of domestic tourism is already resonating with the Guyanese population – evidenced by the plethora of photos splashed across the various social media platforms of visits to local destinations – this is something they want to widely encourage.
As such, Walrond disclosed that while tourist attractions in most administrative regions have already been established, the groundwork has been laid to create similar attractions in other regions, particularly in hinterland communities.
The Minister pointed to Region One (Barima-Waini) which recently launched the “Jonestown Trail” in Port Kaituma; and Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) which has the Mahaica Bird Tour. Likewise, she noted there are similar tours in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), and a myriad of tours and attractions in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), the Minister added, is also strengthening its community tourism product. Walrond added that her Ministry has also been working with several Indigenous communities – Warapoka in Region One; Wakapao in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) and Karasabai in Region Nine to develop tourism packages.
“I cannot underscore the importance of this initiative particularly the financial benefits tourism provides for families in these hinterland communities… Suffice it to say that every region in Guyana is now actively developing its tourism offerings so that tourists – whether local or diaspora – can have a unique, exciting and memorable experience regardless of where they visit,” she stressed.
According to Minister Walrond, the Tourism Ministry is resolute with the growth of the sector in Guyana and will continue to work with regional bodies and stakeholders to implement ideas and develop a robust tourism industry, capitalising on its eco-tourism as it prepares to revive the sector from the fallout due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Despite the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is an exciting time for tourism in Guyana. There is now a buzz in tourism development across the country, coming out of collaboration between the Ministry and regional tourism bodies including the development of several branded hotels… With COVID-19, travel was brought to a halt. However, during the downtime, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce has focused its attention on training and promotion. The vision is that there must be established protocols to keep both visitors and locals safe when travel resume,” she stated.
Concomitantly, Walrond underscored that it is critical to continuously spotlight Guyana’s destinations during the pandemic so that they could remain at the forefront in the minds of visitors waylaid by travel restrictions.
On this note, she posited that the production and release of the video is timely.
“I’m always happy to support any initiative that showcases destination Guyana. I remain optimistic that Guyana’s tourism sector will recover and these videos like this can prove to be essential tools in the recovery process,” the Tourism Minister said.
Further, Minister Walrond described the “Colours of the Rainforest” video as a pulsating and exhilarating journey across “Destination Guyana”. She added that the sounds and colours of the rainforest are at their best in the video, which creatively captures the tranquillity and therapeutic qualities of Guyana’s rainforest.
The Minister said she hopes it captivates Guyanese to begin to explore Guyana more.
Guyana has been making its mark in sustainable tourism, having been named the “Best in Sustainable Tourism” at LATA Achievement Awards back in 2019, which took place during “Experience Latin America”, Europe’s largest B2B travel conference focused on the Latin American region. (G8)