Guyana’s Rupununi goes digital with mobile tourism apps

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Two mobile applications (apps), one for tourists and another for tourism service providers in the Rupununi, Region Nine, were launched on Wednesday, promising a new and innovative safety protocol system.

The apps will help officials safeguard eco-lodge employees, host communities and visitors in the region’s eco-tourism circuit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A partnership between the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), DAl Global, and Wilderness Explorers (WE), seeks to support the resumption of tourism activities and associated livelihood opportunities on which host communities depend.

During the launch at the Cara Lodge Hotel in Georgetown, it was explained that the system involves two key elements geared towards promoting and protecting the health and safety needs of the Rupununi’s ecotourism industry – a series of protocols tailored specifically to the Rupununi’s lodges and communities.

The two mobile applications were developed by local technology company V75 Inc.

Employees of the Lodges have been trained on these protocols, and the applications will soon be available on both Apple and Android devices for larger-scale field testing with users.

The COVID-19 protocols were developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, tailored to the specific risks to health and safety present in the Rupununi context, and based on regional and international health and tourism agencies.

The protocols have been codified into lodge health and safety manuals: compliant forms will be certified by GTA, and with support from teams of local health and safety officers, will be monitored by GTA periodically to ensure compliance.

The first mobile application, named Discover Guyana and specifically built for travellers, provides real-time information on safeguards, standards and certified providers at each stage of their inbound and outbound travel to the region.

Travellers can plan their trip by viewing GTA certified tourism establishment profiles, communicating directly with tourism providers, and adding required health records for easy screening during travel.

The second mobile application, Discover Guyana Tourism Service Providers, allows tourism service providers to create profiles for their establishments, demonstrate their COVID certification information to travellers, respond to inquiries, and access up-to-date health information to keep their staff and visitors safe.

The application also has a check-in system that will require travellers to check-in and out of lodges and answer periodic questions about their health in order to track a visitor’s travel history in the event of a positive case.

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