Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond on Wednesday evening urged stakeholders in the sector to work towards making Guyana a “must-visit” destination. In doing so, she said more needs to be done on maximizing quality service.
“I think that if we continuously examine the sector in this way, zeroing in on all aspects of the visitor experience with a view to maximizing quality of service and pursuing excellence, we will – in the not-so-distant future – get to the stage where tourism cements its place as one of the leading sectors in Guyana’s economy,” she said, adding that visitors must come to Guyana of their own volition.
She alluded to the natural wonders which can be seen in the hinterland regions, the benefits which can be derived from the country’s unique culinary experiences, activities such as the Diwali motorcade and the Rupununi rodeo, as experiences that can draw tourists.
The Minister was at the time addressing the Guyana Tourism Awards Gala at Parc Rayne-Rahaman’s Park in Houston on the East Bank of Demerara. Seven tourism businesses were awarded for their service provided to visitors in the accommodation, dining and other areas.
Minister Walrond said the awards serve an important purpose in the quest to transform the country’s tourism product. “The scope of these awards, however, vividly demonstrates the range of activities – some largely unseen – that are indispensable to the sector. This is seen especially in the category of awards that are given to a business which though not having tourism as their primary focus, provide important supporting services in the sector,” she outlined.
The event was organised by the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG).
Turning her attention to domestic travel, the Minister told the organisers to perhaps examine the possibility for structuring an award or awards for a best-in-class domestic tourism experience.
“It should be well-known that we wish for every Guyanese to be imbued with a wanderlust for our country and for domestic tourism offerings to be of such price and quality that their desires for experiencing the beauty of their own country can be fulfilled,” she noted.
To do its part, the Government, Minister Walrond said, will continue to do its part in facilitating investment in supporting infrastructure, bringing business to Guyana in the form of major international events, in enhancing the regulatory environment and seeing to critical aspects such as safety and security of Destination Guyana.
On the point of bringing businesses to Guyana, she pointed out that this must not be seen as the miniaturization of local establishments. The minister noted that the attraction of international brands will allow the country to host bigger events including large conferences, conventions, festivals and international sporting events driving a demand from which all of our tourism operators can benefit.
Currently, the Government is also inviting Expressions of Interest in Eco-Lodges and resorts and all are encouraged to seek to develop partnerships and participate in this initiative.