Full development of local tourism as gov’t considers sectoral support
With tourism becoming a major contributor to Guyana’s gross domestic product and adding to the country’s economic diversification, the government is focused on developing local tourism holistically by creating sustainable linkages between traditional tourism sectors and other areas.
“When it comes to tourism, boosting all our sectors to create one dynamic destination sets us apart and bolsters our country’s development,” Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips said during the launch of Tourism Awareness Month 2022 at the Watooka Guest House, Region 10 (Upper Demerara – Berbice).
He noted one example of a direct link between tourism and other sectors locally can be seen in Guyana’s agricultural potential and the sourcing of food to supply the demand of an influx of tourists.
This year’s Tourism Awareness Month is being observed under the theme ‘All Sectors, One Tourism’, and the government is aware that in promoting the theme all demand, supply, marketing and supply-chain factors must be considered.
“Government policy also needs to address and will address any potential blockages to effectively procure local inputs, creating a clear pathway for operators to meet consumers’ increasing demand is also key to maintaining sustainable linkages between tourism and other domestic sectors,” Phillips said.
The government is also cognisant of the wider work required to promote ‘One Tourism’ such as a need to facilitate awareness and knowledge of the other domestic sectors and provide access to efficient marketing and distribution systems, the Prime Minister noted.
“We will need to create relationship-building, networking and information-sharing activities for stronger partnerships and we must foster the development of firm economic and fiscal cross-cultural policies to strengthen and facilitate linkages,” he said.
He noted that focus has been placed on decentralizing tourism to other parts of the country to foster increased activity and the trickle-down economic effect tourism brings for boosting activities in other sectors within communities.
“I am optimistic that our collective efforts, that is, the government’s commitment coupled with the dedication of our people and help us to propel destination Guyana to prosperity where all sectors can benefit directly or indirectly from our country’s appeal,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond noted that the theme reflects the thinking that to build a strong tourism sector, the involvement of all sectors is crucial.
“The tourism experience is a multifaceted one that involves immigration officers, customs officials, taxi operators, market vendors, farmers, restauranteurs, entertainers, and the list goes,” she said.
“This theme, therefore, aims to create a greater awareness that we all have a role to play in building the tourism sector,” she added, noting the Ministry is working closely with various stakeholders to develop the local tourism industry.”
Speaking at the launch, the president of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, Hariinand Persaud noted that tourism is a people’s industry, not only because the core of the industry is hospitality, but also because the local population is often an important part of the visitor’s experience.
“Employment is important for the income, personal development, and self-esteem of people and the tourism industry creates employment for a large percentage of our citizens, directly and indirectly, therefore making the different sectors codependent,” he said.
The launch of Tourism Awareness Month in Linden is a significant feat for the region, said the Chair of the Region 10 Tourism Committee, Devin Sears who noted that the region is the front-runner in domestic tourism.
The region is laden with activities for tourists and Sears hailed two major projects which will substantially improve tourism within the region, namely the Linden to Lethem road project and the resurfacing of the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
“The Region 10 Tourism Committee is welcoming the Liden to Lethem road because it believes that it will bring significant investment and development to not only Linden but the entire region, the potential is endless when it comes to that road,” he said.
“We also welcome the resurfacing of the Linden highway because we want you to enjoy smooth sailing, coming to this beautiful mining town that we call our home,” he added.
There are more than 30 events spanning November planned for Tourism Awareness Month and Guyana Tourism Authority has partnered with a number of stakeholders to provide a full experience for both local and international tourists.