Guyana’s tourism sector has unique advantage post COVID-19 – Tourism Dept

Guyana’s tourism product will have a distinct advantage over others after the COVID-19 pandemic, because of the need for less populated safe spaces for visitors.
Speaking with the Department of Public Information, Director General of the Department of Tourism, Donald Sinclair, said Guyana is better placed to capitalise on this than some other tourism destinations.
Reopening the local tourism industry will take time, and several factors need to be considered.
“You have to market bearing in mind that your market, meaning the people who want to come, are very sensitive about what you are inviting them to. The first (thing) they want to know is: ‘will I be safe? Am I putting myself at risk in coming to Guyana or any other country?’” he is quoted as saying by DPI.
To this end, he said “tourism bubbles” can be created to ensure a safe space for activities. This entails ensuring that “the transportation they use is according to COVID-19 protocols. The hotel that they will be staying in, they will not put themselves at risk. The tours that they go on, those tours will not compromise their health in any way; so, you create a safe bubble.”
In marketing Guyana, Sinclair said, it must be made clear that Guyana is a place where you can enjoy unique experiences.
“Tourism with smaller numbers – those destinations with thousands on a beach, those destinations are in trouble. That kind of tourism is not going to thrive, maybe in the short to medium term, because that is not what people are going for. Our product, where you can take small numbers to an interior location or remote location for a special experience, for a special package and enjoyment of nature, that is the kind of tourism that is well accepted,” he said.
As the sector gradually opens, activities that entail avoiding crowds and wearing masks are what will be expected. Domestic tourism and diaspora markets are also expected to kick off first, so that is where efforts are directed, Sinclair revealed.
“We don’t want to put the communities at any risk. We don’t want to put the visitors at any risk, so the GTA is trying to ensure that the lodges are fully compliant with the COVID-19 protocols so that persons who go (there) are safe,” he said.
Many persons from the diaspora may also travel to Guyana for Christmas.
“I suspect that in the days and weeks ahead, we are going to be seeing a slow reopening, because we know that Christmas is coming. Many folks from the diaspora (are) itching to come back home, but those things have to be done safely, we cannot rush a reopening,” Sinclair said.
In keeping with this, the Director General is urging tour operators and the public to take the necessary precautions.