‘Collaboration is key’ – THAG President says as playbook launched to improve Destination Essequibo
In a push to create more tourist attractions along the Essequibo River, a product development playbook, launched on Tuesday, aims to provide both existing and new tour operators with relevant guidance.
Titled, ‘The Discover Essequibo Circuit Development Project’, it aims to promote the Essequibo Coast and Bartica as tourist destinations in Guyana. The Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), with the support of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Compete Caribbean and representatives from the consulting firm Target Euro collaborated to create the Guyana Tourism Product playbook which serves as a guide for the development of new products and improving existing ones.
Essequibo is being recongnised for the untapped potential of this area, with river views, majestic waterfalls, bird watching and serenity on each of the 365 islands in the Essequibo River.
It is an ideal attraction!
The project is expected to provide women and indigenous people living in the area with opportunities to generate revenue, therefore empowering themselves and the community.
“Collaboration is key, always is, from training, co-development and shared expertise, we are poised to create a niche tourism product that exemplifies service and excellence.
“This playbook serves as a guide to unearth new products, nurture new niche services, ensuring a lasting and sustainable impact,” President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, Omodelle George said during the launching ceremony on Tuesday at the Herdmandston Lodge.
Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana Mark Berman said that Canada’s support for initiatives that cater to developing vulnerable groups is unwavering.
“Through our feminist international systems policy Canada works diligently to ensure that our systems place women and girls at the forefront of our development while simultaneously striving to target the poorest and most vulnerable populations and Canada recognises the effort of several,” Berman said.
Since 2019 the project has been in the works but due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delayed. Several stakeholders, including Compete Caribbean and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have collaborated to conduct visits to Regions Two and Seven for consultations for developing sustainable tourist attractions.
According to the Country Representative of the IDB, Lorena Salazar, the consultations aimed at ensuring that vulnerable groups living in the area can benefit from the developing tourism sector.
“The idea is to link various operators and promote Essequibo as a tourist circuit. In the cluster development plan, the cluster articulates the need for a region to develop new and sustainable tourism products.
“Through this project, we have engaged the communities in Region two and in Region seven from the coastal region of Charity, Pomeroon-Supenaam to the interior gateway town of Bartica and surrounding indigenous communities,” Salazar said.
Now, stakeholders will work with these communities, using the playbook to provide training and guidance for developing products and to guide tour operators with training that should lead to the improvement of existing products.