‘Think big’ – Tourism Min. disappointed with lack of proposals to match scale of foreign investors

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By Kurt Campbell

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An unyielding believer in Guyana’s tourism potential, subject minister Oneidge Walrond said on Sunday she was disappointed that with major investors coming to Guyana there were little to no proposals readied by locals that could be presented.

She made the comment shortly after meeting with the Region 10 Tourism Committee and just days after her engagement with two officials from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

“If I have those proposals I can send them to Dubai and Qatar.

“These men are not coming to listen to two million dollar projects. You have to start to dream big and think of the multimillion-dollar project and we can advance them… we are in the big league guys,” Walrond said.

Speaking directly to Region 10, the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce reasoned that the development contemplated cannot be done solely by the government.

“It has to be private-sector driven and funded,” she noted.

Members of the Region 10 Tourism Committee (Photo: News Room/November 14, 2021)

To make her point, Walrond recalled her recent meeting with the Qatar officials and other investors from Dubai and said it was disappointing that she could not find any private sector tourism products ready to present although they were ready with billions in investment in these kinds of projects.

“We need to get our act together. We are not running a cake shop. The development that we are talking about, as we see it is big and spectacular,” Walrond added.

She said while the government was pushing ahead with its agenda, there needs to be more collaborative efforts with the private sector and communities.

The minister said Rockstone, an Amerindian settlement located on the right bank of the Essequibo River in the Upper Demerara-Berbice region should come together as one and put forward a single tourism proposal for the development of the area.

Rockstone has been attracting scores of people annually, particularly for its fish festival.

Walrond said while she admired what was being done at the community level, it was time to think big and up the game.

“There is so much we can accomplish if we show seriousness about the business of tourism… as government willing to support but you must not become satisfied with a $500,000 here and there.

“I had to pull straw and find projects for serious businessmen to get their interest and it turns out I had nothing to offer or very little in terms of actual projects,” she added.

She said stakeholders must think big, beyond their own divisions, motives and personal interests.

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