Use only approved tour operators – Minister warns

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With the death of a tourist recently at Orinduik falls and now the disappearance of an American on a fishing expedition in the Rupununi, the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond is advising tourists to use only those operators that are approved and regulated by the relevant authorities.

The first tourist was a US-based Guyanese, Gladstone Haynes, who disappeared while touring the Orinduik Falls in Region Eight. He was reportedly swept away by a strong current and his body was found a day later.

The second tourist, so far unidentified, was on a fishing expedition this week in the Rupununi, and was reportedly using an unlicensed tour operator.

See below full statement from Minister Walrond:

Following the tragic news of a missing traveller in the Rupununi, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce would like to emphasise that persons should ensure that their tours and tour operators are approved by the Guyana Tourism Authority.

A list of approved operators is published on the website of the Ministry of Tourism Industry and Commerce (mintic.gov.gy/approved-tour-operators) and the Guyana Tourism Authority’s Facebook page.

Tours which are unregulated and not approved by the Authority many times do not have the necessary safety systems and protocols in place.

Following the unfortunate events at Orinduik in October and now this report of a missing person in the Rupununi, the government commenced a searching inquiry into these tragic incidents, in which the operations of all stakeholders, including the relevant authorities will be examined. A key feature of this review is a consultation with tour operators and related regulatory agencies, scheduled for December 13, aimed at developing Standard Operating Procedures and emergency measures for all tours.

Pending the completion of the review, I urge the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, the Private Sector Commission and other private sector bodies to join our call for persons to only use operators and facilities that are approved by the GTA.

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