Guyana eyes half a million tourists by 2025

first_img…as President commits resourcesThe Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) has celebrated its 25th Anniversary with the Annual President’s Award Ceremony and Reception held at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown on Saturday evening.The scores of dignitaries in attendance heard that Guyana is looking to secure an annual arrival rate of half a million visitors by 2025 — up from the 235,000 visitors who landed in Guyana last year. A six per cent increase in arrivals over the same period in 2016 has thus far been recorded for the first quarter of 2017.First Lady Sandra Granger seems impressed by the craftsmanship shown in these locally-made ornaments In addressing the stakeholders, President Granger pledged that, while Tourism is private sector-driven, the State will continue to support the industry through development of the relevant infrastructure, such as improved aerodromes, bridges, highways and stellings; and Government will continue to provide resources, within its means, to promote the country.“We must bequeath it to our children and grandchildren, mustn’t we?” he declared.Speaking to his commitment to protect Guyana and is natural endowment, President Granger reminded that he had personally signing the COP 21 Paris Accord, and added: “Like other people, I am not about to erase my signature,” probably taking a direct swipe at US President Donald Trump, who recently withdrew from the accord.The President reminded of his government’s commitment to establish a green capital town in every region, inclusive of a legally designated protected area. This announcement was greeted with stirring applause from tourism stakeholders gathered for the reception.Expressing gratitude to the diaspora, which he recognised as Guyana’s most generous Tourism customer, the President said, “We have all witnessed the annual pilgrimages of the diaspora to our annual festivals.” He identified activities such as Mashramani, regattas and ‘town days’ held across the country as opportune occasions to witness the pilgrimages he was talking about.According to the President, the diaspora should not be underestimated; and though representing a small market, has been “a reliable and faithful market for our tourism.”Shaun McGrath, who also served as a four-term president of THAG and was an integral member in its start-up, was adjudged the winner of the 2017 Hall of Fame Award   Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, who holds responsibility for the tourism sector in Guyana, declared that even with an unimpressive growth rate in the industry, Guyana can, by 2025, begin receiving up to 500,000 tourists. He cautioned, however, that receiving that many tourists in Guyana would require a corresponding preparation in terms of services and infrastructure.Gaskin spoke to the need for Guyana to be able to handle at least five 737 aircraft, a number of smaller hotels, dozens more restaurants, hundreds more taxis, and a range of other infrastructure, including a bridged Essequibo River.He also spoke to the need to have significantly more accommodation in the hinterland, including additional airlift for interior locations and improved telecommunication and other tourist-related services.Thus he pointed out that while there is optimism in anticipated tourism arrivals, there needs to be corresponding infrastructure in place.THAG President Andrea de Caires, in her opening address to the gathering, called on the administration to pay more attention to the sector, and in fact to invest some of the anticipated oil revenues in the sector.She traced the evolution of THAG over its 25 years of existence, and spoke to some of the challenges faced and lessons learnt over the years. De Caires said that in light of advances made over the years, it is right and fitting to not only treat with the tourism sector as the economy prepares to launch its oil and gas sector, but to also invest some of the oil revenues in the sector.She was convinced that the Tourism sector has, over the years, evolved into a key contributor to the economy; and she said this is projected to only improve in the coming years. By the evening’s end, the following awards had been handed out: Hotel of the Year, Resort/Lodge of the Year, Direct Tourism Services Award, Tourism Supporting Services, and the Hall of Fame Award.The Grand Coastal, Pegasus Guyana and Cara Lodge were each nominated for the President’s 2017 Award, but it was taken by Grand Coastal. Nominees for the Resort/Lodge award were Rewa Eco Lodge, Baganara Resort and Atta Rainforest Lodge. The winner was Rewa Eco Lodge.Trans Guyana Airways, Bushmasters, and Old Fort Tours were also nominated for an award, but the winner was Bushmasters.The Tourism Supporting Services’ nominees were: Nurse Marcy Gravesande, Demerara Distillers Limited, and Canadian Executive Services Overseas. The winner was Demerara Distillers Limited.The Hall of Fame Award nominees were: Public Communication Minister Cathy Hughes, who has been a member of THAG for over 20 years and has also served in the post of President; Iwokrama Rainforest Centre, established in 1996 under a mandate shared by the Guyana Government and the Commonwealth; Shaun McGrath, who also served as a four-term president of THAG and was an integral member of its start-up; and Captain Mazahar Ally of Air Services Limited. McGrath was adjudged the winner of the 2017 Hall of Fame Awardlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *