Tourism in Guyana making a resurgence – Tourism Minister

…says eco-tourism market specially catered for COVID pandemic

After more than a year of COVID-19-influenced shut downs of the hospitality industry, tourism in Guyana is on a resurgence. This was the view of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond.

Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond

The Minister was at the time addressing attendees at the 17th annual Christmas tree light-up at Rahaman’s Park on Sunday evening. Minister Walrond noted that she is particularly positioned to witness the return to normalcy in the tourism industry.
For instance, she noted that hotels are returning to full bookings and business is returning to lodges. According to the Minister, tourist guides are also steadily returning to action as the number of visitors increases.
“As the Minister of Tourism, I see people coming back out. I’ve been travelling across the country. All the different regions. And you’re seeing engagement. Tourists, lodges, houses are being opened.”
“Hotels are booked up. I see tour guides engaged. You could hardly find a boat captain. You have to book them weeks in advance, sometimes months. So, we’re definitely seeing a resurgence, a reboot of the tourism sector. Guyanese are indeed resilient,” Walrond said.
She further noted that Guyana, with its wide expanse of savannahs and its lush, untouched rainforests teeming with flora and fauna, is uniquely equipped to offer tourism that will decrease the risk of COVID-19 infection of tourists.
“Our tourism product, which is eco-tourism, is particularly tailored for the COVID-19 pandemic environment. Because we are in wide open spaces like this, with lots of ventilation. And once again, we have to learn to listen and trust in the science.”
“The science says you’re not likely to be infected when its open spaces… and we are able to encourage people to come visit our interior locations and experience Guyana’s tourism product. Because it is catered for your small groups and it’s in wide open spaces,” the Minister said.
November 2021 is Tourism Awareness Month and Government has been making commitments to facilitate the return to normalcy in the tourism sector. To mark the start of the month, acting Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Karnrul Baksh had announced the launch of the agency’s Tourist and Tourist Service Provider App which will allow travellers to be updated on the travel protocols and key information as well as a tracking feature.
In the same vein of innovation, he said that the GTA has collaborated with the Bureau of Statistics to launch the digitised visitor exit motivation survey, which will be piloted at the Eugene F Correia International Airport.
“l believe these will be excellent additions to our efforts to provide safe tourism experiences and reinvent the way travellers’ experiences are handled,” he had noted.
Also, he said that the GTA has collaborated with conditionally approved tour operators and lodges and resorts to provide special tour packages during this month. In urging Guyanese to check out the packages, he added, “Guyana’s tourism sector has immense potential, which is only just being realised.”
He nevertheless expressed confidence that through a consistent level of multi-sectoral and highly integrated stakeholder collaboration, the country’s tourism sector will reach new heights.
Baksh added that through the Government’s robust COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Guyana will certainly solidify efforts to offer safe tourism experiences to travellers.
The GTA Director noted too that during this month, stakeholders will recognise the growth of the sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the remarkable resilience and leadership that have been demonstrated and just how much of a stringent, yet coordinated approach, was necessary for recovery. (G3)