By Fareeza Haniff in Beijing
Recognising that Guyana and China are thousands of miles apart and the fact that it takes at least two days to travel, Guyana’s ambassador Anyin Choo is on a mission to make the Caribbean more appealing to Chinese tourists.
Choo is currently in discussions with eight Caribbean countries that are represented in China to launch a ‘multi-destination package’ targeting specifically Chinese tourists.
“But I think the challenge of getting to Guyana from China is the air time; it’s a pretty long flight and there are no direct flights from China to Guyana.
“And I think that for the tourists, spending all this time travelling to a single destination is not something that you might want to do, so I am in discussion with my Caribbean colleagues to try to come together and do a multi-destination package.
“I think this is something that is very practical, and something that we would embark on once China opens back for tourism,” Ambassador Choo told the News Room during an interview in Beijing.
Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Jamaica, and Suriname are among the countries Ambassador Choo is in discussion with to launch her initiative.
“I think this is one of the initiatives that I want to work on to increase the tourism figures.”
The Guyanese diplomat is currently the chair of the Caribbean Caucus of Ambassadors and discussions have commenced for the countries to host a joint event aimed at showcasing the rich, diverse culture.
“Marketing our respective countries as a multi-destination package is something that we will all be interested in.
“I think that…coming together to have a multi-destination package will be something appealing to everyone, we will all benefit,” Ambassador Choo told the News Room.
Taking into consideration the COVID-19 rules and regulations in China, Ambassador Choo hopes that this joint event can be held by the end of the year.
“In reality, each of our countries, in comparison to China, we’re all very, very small. So, I think numbers will help us have a louder voice when we’re promoting the region and because we’re similar in so many ways, we have similar interests in so many areas, I think coming together to do joint activities is something that we all can benefit from.”
‘Guyana’s tourism is unique’
According to Choo, she has always held the belief that Guyana’s tourism industry is “very unique” hence the reason for her initiative to boost the industry.
She explained that in the past, many Chinese groups would have visited Guyana to experience something different.
“In the past, we’ve had Chinese tourist groups visit Guyana and these are not your ordinary tourists, these are the tourists who would have been at all the cosmopolitan cities across the world and would have their shopping sprees on luxury items; these are tourists that want something different and so we’ve had over the years – but very limited groups – Chinese tourists going to Guyana for adventure tourism, for bird watching, for fishing.
“And these are the people who want to experience what it’s like to be off the grid, back to nature, back to basics.”
She noted that most Chinese tourists love Guyana’s food and the environment.
“That wholesomeness in our food, it’s very different from what they usually get in China. And so, I think there is a lot of potential for Chinese tourism in Guyana.”
According to the Guyanese diplomat, she has made it a part of her mission to play Guyana’s tourism videos at each event she is invited to make a presentation and the feedback is always positive.