5 tourism businesses receive approval for reopening

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Baganara Island Resort [Baganara Photo]
The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has announced that the Baganara Island Resort, Hurakabra River Resort, Rock View Lodge, Waikin Ranch and Elite Kayaking & Nature Tours have all received conditional approval, which is tied to the National COVID-19 measures and GTA’s recommended Hygiene and Sanitation protocols, for reopening and can commence welcoming travellers to their properties.

By this weekend, four additional businesses will be inspected and are anticipated, based on a desk review of their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to receive approval early in the new week.

As part of its ongoing efforts to train, inspect and provide the approval, the GTA has now been listed as an essential service under the latest COVID-19 gazetted measures. This move will ensure that the inspection team can easily access regions and locations that were previously inaccessible to ensure that businesses are up and running again in a safe way.

Businesses that receive the conditional approval are reminded to maintain the protocols as outlined by the Guyana Tourism Authority and the National Gazetted measures. Failure to adhere to these measures will result in the revocation of the conditional approval tied to the COVID-19 measures.

Additionally, as a result of collaborative efforts and intervention between the GTA, THAG and the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), there will now be a 2-step process for tourism businesses to reopen. The 2-step process entails:

● Submission of Business’s written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to the GTA for a desk review.
● On-site inspection of Businesses to verify the implementation of the SOPs and approval by the GTA.

Domestic and international travellers are recommended to use only approved tourism businesses to book and plan their tour activities. Anyone who chooses to go on tour with a business that has not been assessed and approved by the GTA is basically putting themselves and their tour group at risk.

The GTA indicated that lodges have shared that there is strong interest by domestic travellers to venture out to experience nature, especially after being confined to their homes for several months. Recognising the level of interest for travel, the GTA’s Director stated that “as tourism businesses receive the conditional approval for reopening, the GTA will roll out a marketing campaign to drive the demand and bookings so businesses that have been closed for more than eight months can start to generate revenue and re-employ staff who were affected by the pandemic and the lockdowns”.

She further stated that, “Guyana is uniquely positioned to be one of the safest destinations in relation to social distancing. Our vast pristine open landscapes and small group numbers lend to a more intimate tourism experience which is ideal for travel in the new norm. Based on this and the resilience of the tourism businesses, the outlook for tourism recovery is a positive one.” [Extracted and Modified: Press Release from GTA]