Digitised system launched to monitor traction at tourist sites

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To better help the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) develop and improve the country’s tourist attractions, a new digitised system was launched on Tuesday to track the movements of local and international visitors to the different tourist sites here.

Said to be the first of its kind ever launched in the Caribbean, the new Visitor Exit Motivation Survey (VEMS) will be monitored by the National Bureau of Statistics (BOS).

But how exactly does it work? VEMS connects to the free Wi-Fi service at the airports departing visitors are asked to fill out a questionnaire.

From the data provided, the GTA and the Bureau would be able to monitor the popular tourist sites frequented by visitors; the amount of foreign currency expended throughout visits, and receive feedback on what can be done to improve existing tourist sites.

Kamrul Baksh, Director (ag), GTA

A similar system was in place before but proved to be a tedious task, according to the Chief Statistician at GNBS, Ian Manifold.

“…but here we are today, with a digitised format instead of having to conduct in-person interviews so we have come a long way,” Manifold told those gathered at the launch held at Eugene F. Correia International Airport at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

The Director (ag) of the Guyana Tourism Authority Kamrul Baksh spoke about the importance of VEMS as a critical data capturing tool.

He said that this will help the GTA to cater more to visitors – both local and international – and to help to improve Guyana’s existing tourist attractions to create new ones.

“In our line of business, information is absolutely critical and central to what we do,” Baksh shared.

“We need the information so that we can plan programmes and policies. We need to understand what the visitors see and how much they are spending.

“We want to use that information so that we can then know where we put resources into investment. We want to know so that we can plan training programmes for stakeholders. We want to know where we should find what channels we should use. We want to use that information so that we can develop Destination Guyana,” Baksh shared.

The Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Waldron in a subsequent press statement announced that VEMS will be introduced at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) by 2022.

The minister noted that feedback from visitors is a critical part of helping to further push ‘Destination Guyana.’

“Armed with this data, we can assimilate and aggregate it into information.  Following this we can delve into it to discern trends and finally, it would be the job of the policymakers to draw on their knowledge and experience…to make sensible decisions and judgments about where we need to take our tourism product and how to get us to that objective,” the Tourism Minister said.

Guyana continues to grow as a destination of choice for travellers. In 2018, Guyana recorded a total number of visitor arrivals of 286,732 passengers, the highest ever recorded.

And the GTA has been working on raising the profile of Destination Guyana through increased product development and niche marketing.

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