By Isanella Patoir
Local tour operators and tour guides are completely reserved since the cost of their tour packages is reduced which ultimately cater to domestic tourists.
This initiative, according to Tourism, Industry and Trade Minister Oneidge Walrond, supports and revives the sector which has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think the sector is doing extremely well; we are seeing the effects with the initiatives that we have launched. We are now able to track it through data. The boat operators, a lot of them are not available because they go on excursions, we have more and more tour guides who say they’re back to work, back to work; our lodges are full, our hotels are packed, ”Minister Walrond told the press room on Saturday during a media familiarization tour of regions three and seven.
“What traditionally happens is that there are peak seasons when foreigners come and we have decided and are working with private tour operators and facility managers to have packages available all year round at one. reduced cost and aimed at the domestic traveler, “Minister Walrond explained.
These attractive prices are mostly all-inclusive packages where locals can experience Guyana’s untouched and pristine tourist products across the country. The visits take place in a strictly COVID-19 free environment where only vaccinated people are allowed to participate.
“I think for too long because we didn’t have a fully developed tourism product, this was added to a lot of negativity,” the minister said noting that there were ongoing infrastructure projects that will have a direct impact on the tourism sector.
One of those projects is the $ 18 million building under construction at Fort Island, located along the Essequibo River in region three.
Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Director (ag) Kamrul Baksh told the newsroom that they recognized the need to further develop and rehabilitate stellings, which will ultimately boost tourism in several regions.
“Having a large facility such as a stelling will help with boarding and disembarking… we have to prioritize tourist infrastructure, infrastructure generally in the country, but you need these infrastructure to improve the experience,” said Baksh explained during a visit to Fort Kyk-Over-Al located at the junction of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni rivers in the region seven.
In addition, the director said that the development of the infrastructure will also promote the safety of visitors and the quality of the experience here.
New tourism products
The director of GTA said they are fully committed to working with the private sector to develop new and quality tourism products that meet international standards.
“We want to respond to the domestic market, tourism concerns the country, the diaspora and the international,” Baksh said.
Soon, the GTA will be launching several new experiential tourism products, such as a Fort Nassau Tour package in Berbice as well as the Canje Sunset Tour.
Other tours include the Indigenous Experience Tour – to villages such as Warapoka, Region One; Santa Aratak, region three and St Cuthbert’s mission in region four. The Taste of Freedom Cook-up Tour will also be part of the Guyana Food Experience Tour.
“We want to make sure that the people who come back, the local people here experience it, we want to expand the product, develop more and more products,” said the director.
Meanwhile, Minister Walrond said the government is also committed to developing the sector and helping communities who wish to get involved in tourism.
“We help with training, we help identify their products and build tours and tours because when visitors come they want the full experience, they want things to do.
“So we come to the regions and we help identify what these products can be and we give support and training where it is of concern,” said the Minister of Tourism.