Guyana, Dominican Republic exploring joint tourism package – Ali

As Guyana looks to expand its tourism industry, President Dr Irfaan Ali said his Government is looking to establish a joint product with the Dominican Republic that can target the massive Guyanese diaspora in North America as well as the European market.
The Head of State made this remark following bilateral talks with Dominican Republic President, Luis Abinader, who led a large delegation of both state and private sector officials to Georgetown for a one-day visit on Thursday.
During a briefing at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), President Ali pointed out that tourism is one of the major areas in which Guyana wants to partner with Dominican Republic.
“We want to jointly market Guyana and DR (Dominican Republic) as one package. And this is because of the connectivity that we are now bringing [through the commence of operations by] the new airline – SkyCana,” he stated.
The Dominican Republic-based airline, SkyCana, commenced flights to Guyana on Thursday, June 1, 2023, flying routes from Georgetown to Canada and soon to Houston, United States, with stopovers in Punta Cana.
The servicing of these North American routes, through the Dominican Republic, presents the opportunity to tap into the tourism demands there.
In fact, President Ali told the massive Dominican Republic delegation that the United States and Canada is home to a Guyanese diaspora of some 2 million of first and second generation, who would capitalise on a joint tourism package.
“…That is a market that is waiting for DR because they still want the sun, sand and sea but they also want the eco-tourism and the home experience [which Guyana will offer]. So, we can market these two countries together on a common platform,” he stated.
Moreover, the Guyanese leader went on to highlight that Guyana is home to four per cent of all known plant and animal species in its vast forests. He added too that the giants of the Amazon rainforest, including the jaguar – Guyana’s national animal – are also found here.
In addition, the President also talked up Guyana’s impressive bird species which is a much larger variety than what is found in the United States.
“We have the third best birding destination in the world… We’ve been in the top ranking for eco-tourism throughout Europe. So, if we can market to North America with the diaspora and also market in Europe, Guyana and DR as a common [product] that will bring tremendous benefit to us,” Ali posited.
According to the Head of State, who is slated for a reciprocal visit to the Dominican Republic later this month, he is hoping by the time he gets there that they can have deep discussions between the tourism sectors of both countries so that they can come up with a formula of how to jointly market Dominican Republic and Guyana as one tourism product to tap into these markets.

Hospitality sector
Meanwhile, the Guyanese Head of State further told the visiting delegation of ongoing efforts to enhance Guyana’s hospitality sector that will further boost its tourism. This includes plans to construct approximately 14 new internationally-branded hotels, of which about seven are already underway and set to open in the coming years.
President Ali noted that while the country has captured the interests of many bilateral partners in Europe and the Middle East, Guyana is keen on partnering with the Dominican Republic.
“We want you to be part of this growth story but we want you to do so in conjunction with our local private sector – that is key for us,” the Head of State indicated.
He went on to outline that one of the major areas that is going to come on stream is the creation of Guyana’s own economic zone. “We want to develop our own economic zone and that gives you the opportunity, who are already in this, to be our partner in the development of this economic zone.”
The President noted that Guyana has a number of trade agreements with different partners and this would give the Dominican Republic access to those markets as well as easier access to Caribbean Community (Caricom) markets. The Dominican Republic is an associate member of Caricom.
In response, President Abinader noted that his visit to Guyana is laying the foundation for the start of a successful bilateral relationship between the two regional nations. He noted the eagerness of both the Government and the private sector of his country to forge new ties with Guyana on its journey to unprecedented growth.
“Everything that we will do is for the benefit of your country and the benefit also of the people participating in a win-win situation… I think that you will never regret the participation of our business people and our Government in the development of Guyana,” the Dominican Republic leader stated.
During Thursday’s bilateral engagements, Guyana and the Dominican Republic signed three agreements for cooperation on energy-related matters and political consultation as well as an Air Services Agreement.