Tourism Awareness Month officially launched

The Tourism sector globally has seen a major decline in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting measures implemented to stem the spread of the disease.
With plans to revitalize the sector through reduced prices for domestic travel and local cuisines and more, Tourism Awareness Month was officially launched on Monday at the Bimichi- Eco Lodge at St Cuthbert’s Mission, Region Four.

The theme for this month’s activities is “Preparing for a new frontier- stimulating innovation within the tourism sector.”

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond said the theme was chosen to signal the efforts being made to aid the sector in recovery as it has begun to emerge from the devastation brought on by COVID-19.

“International travel has resumed with the requisite protocols and many hotels are reporting improved occupancy. However, the harsh reality is that we continue to battle this dreaded coronavirus and its attendant challenges. We are therefore still very much in uncharted territory, but the tourism sector must continue to rebound,” she said in her address.

She said while efforts are ongoing to  make Guyana a leading destination in the Americas for conventions, conferences and sporting events, domestic tourism will also be supported. “Equally important are our efforts to grow the domestic tourism market for we wish Guyana to be the default choice for Guyanese,” Minister Walrond said.

The Minister noted that many individuals, families, businesses, and communities are depending on the sector and the Government of Guyana will continue to do all that is possible to ensure the re-emergence of the industry.

One of those individuals is 69-year-old Amanda Mahadeo who owns and operates the Bimichi Eco-Lodge. The business woman said the lodge has always been a dream of hers since teenager to provide an income for her family and the community. “It was hard work and we’re still working hard to put certain things in place like solar and WiFi services. It has been [difficult] since the pandemic but I am encouraging people to come now and enjoy nature,” Mahadeo urged as she looks to increase  income to further improve the lodge.
Amanda Mahadeo welcomes Minister Walrond
For the month of November, the government has relaxed the curfew from midnight and to 4:00h. As a result businesses are allowed to keep their doors open until 23:00h.
While private parties and social activities are still prohibited, the new gazetted measures allow for bars and restaurants to also keep their doors open until 23:00h.
However, the Government’s vaccination policy to enter public spaces now requires that persons must be fully vaccinated in order to access private and public services. On Monday, Andrea DeCaires who is on the Board of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) said the GTA fully supports this restriction.
“We support vaccines to enter Guyana, to enter a lodge,” she noted, expressing confidence in the Government’s decision to implement such requirements.
Monday’s event was also addressed by Deputy Speaker and former Village leader Lenox Shuman who urged that the training opportunities available to Guyanese be extended to Indigenous communities.
MP Lennox Shuman and Minister Walrond take a sip of coconut water
The GTA has planned a total of 28 activities for the month including the much anticipated Guyana Restaurant week, familiarization trips, a video competition and training sessions among others.