Tourism groups in the various administrative regions of Guyana say they have been unable to promote local tourism because of a lack of funding from the Government.
Tourism groups and committees from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 on Thursday met for the Department of Tourism’s Regional Round-up Forum held at the Roraima Duke Lodge, Kingston, Georgetown.
During this meeting, most of the tourism groups spoke about the many challenges they encountered throughout the year in promoting tourism in their region.
Most of them noted that they were unable to execute many plans due to the lack of funding from the Department of Tourism and by extension the Government of Guyana.
Chairman for the Mabaruma Tourism Working Group in Region One, Lyn Robinson said the group will officially launch in December but they have already begun clearing of three ‘Tiger Caves’ and the Kamwatta Falls to serve as regional tourist destinations.
She noted that funding is needed to execute the works.
“Due to some circumstances, we weren’t able to actually do activities for Tourism Month,” Robinson said.
Coming from Region Two, Maria Lord said they are hoping to revive masquerading and planned to host a competition but that has been pushed back to December 18.
“Our main problem was the funds…we didn’t get our funds and we are still waiting,” Lord said.
It was noted that Regions 1 and 2 are fairly new to tourism and both regions are now identifying tourism ‘hot spots’.
Meanwhile, the Region Eight Tourism Committee representative, Julian Melville said they are seeking to create a certain standard of tourism in the region, but were again unable to promote the planned overland tours to Kaieteur Falls.
“We planned to have tours for residents, the business community, the Regional and Town Council leaders, but due to financial constraints that did not happen, we had planned that for Tourism Awareness month,” Melville said.
Melville suggested that every region should support the major tourism activities of the other regions.
“It would be great when there is a major tourism activity happening in any of the regions that we invite each other to attend to have a firsthand experience of what other regions are doing so we can learn from each other,” she noted.
Chairman of the East Berbice, Corentyne Tourism Committee (Region Six), Travis Isaacs said they are looking to promote the Canje River as a tourist destination with sightings of the national bird, Canje Pheasant and holler monkeys.
The committee earlier in the year held a photography competition which included secondary schools to capture must-see spots in the Region. The winning photographs will be placed in public buildings in the region and also in the winning schools.
Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) focused more on education tourism and held debating, logo, art and poetry competitions.
A representative from the tourism group in Region Seven, Magaiva Gonsalves noted that these areas are crucial in tourism.
Region Three (Essequibo Islands -West Demerara) is seeking to develop beaches on Fort Island, Parika and Saxacalli and have even earmarked resorts such as the Aracari Resort and Rose Ann Fun Park and has even committed to developing to Vreed-en-Hoop stelling.
President of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Brian Mullis told the groups that the Authority will provide support in tourism product development, marketing, licensing and training.
Meanwhile, in an effort to push tourism in the various regions, President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana Mitra Ramkumar says they are looking to extend Guyana Restaurant week to all the regions for the next season.