Forum opens to promote tourism through rum

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Though the diversification of the sugar sector has led to the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) being forced to import molasses for its rum and rum products, local organizations are looking to expand the tourism sector through the rum industry.

This will be done through a Rum Route Forum which opened today at the Arthur Chung Conference Center.

Last year, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) launched the Caribbean Rum Route initiative in which participating member countries were invited to design a tourist itinerary that would tell the story of rum.

The initiative is aimed at giving visitors to the Caribbean a fresh insight into the social, cultural and historical facets of the production of rum.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin

In fact, the story will be told from the cane fields to the shops in which the spirits are being sold. It is expected to generate increased marketing opportunities for tourism and the Rum and Spirits Industry.

Guyana is known for its famous El Dorado rum which has won gold medals at the Caribbean Rum Taste Test and also grabbed the title of Best rum in the world at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

DDL is importing molasses from Nicaragua for use in its rums and other products but is hoping that the local sugar industry will be able to supply its needs once again from 2019.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin told reporters that the sugar industry has been in decline for some time and he supports the consolidation of the estates.

He noted that it is unfortunate the actions affected the rum industry but “it’s a temporary situation which hopefully don’t have to be repeated next year.”

Those in attendance at Thursday’s stakeholder forum were Guyana’s major beverage manufacturers- Banks DIH Ltd. and DDL, tour operators, rum shop owners, distillery staff and factory representatives, students and researchers.

The participants will be discussing and proposing the parameters and framework for the official Guyana rum route.

According to Secretary General of the CTO, Hugh Riley, the regional objective is to push diversification of the tourism sector and promote the regional rum and rum related products.

He said Guyana has a number of advantages to promote this industry, including an ethnic and social diversity and the opportunity to expand rural tourism.

He disclosed that the CTO is in negotiations to formalize funding levels and requirements for the initiative from an inter regional steering committee. A report should be submitted to the committee for final approval in November of this year.

Countries have also begun identifying and categorizing their rum tourism assets.

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