Four more tourism businesses open with conditional approval

Pandama Retreat & Winery [Photo from Pandama Retreat & Winery]

Pandama Retreat & Winery [Photo from Pandama Retreat & Winery]
The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has granted approval for four more businesses to reopen, which will contribute to reopening of the sector during the pandemic.

Establishments that were granted conditional approval include Caiman House, Cara Lodge Hotel, Guyana Truly Wild and Pandama Retreat and Winery Resort. They can commence welcoming travelers and guests to their properties, in keeping with guidelines tied to the National COVID-19 measures and GTA’s recommended Hygiene and Sanitation protocols.

Other approved businesses include Rewa Eco-lodge, Wanderlust Adventures, Baganara Island Resort, Hurakabra River Resort, Rock View Lodge, Waikin Ranch, Elite Kayaking & Nature Tours, Atta Rainforest Lodge, Iwokrama River Lodge, Sloth Island Nature Resort and Arrowpoint Nature Resort.

The Authority said these tourism drivers must ensure that all protocols are observed since failure to do so will result in actions to withdraw permission to operate.

“It is imperative that those businesses which have since received their conditional approvals be reminded to maintain the protocols as outlined by the Guyana Tourism Authority and the National COVID-19 measures. Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in the revocation of approval,” the GTA mandated.

Failure to adhere to these measures will result in the revocation of the conditional approval tied to the COVID-19 measures. Domestic and international travelers are recommended to use only GTA approved tourism businesses to book and plan their tour activities. A list was uploaded on the agency’s Facebook page for potential visitors.

Director of the GTA, Carla James has expressed that, “The tourism businesses are doing their part to keep travelers, their team and community safe. The resilience and camaraderie witnessed over the past few months to combat the ongoing effects of COVID-19 and reopen the sector in a safe way has been remarkable. While it is not quite over, we are confident that as long as we continue along the path that we are on, the recovery of our sector will be strong.”

There is a two-step process that all tourism businesses are expected to follow in order to receive their official approval for reopening. It entails a submission of the business’s written Standard Operating Procedures to the GTA for a desk review and on-site inspection to verify the implementation of the SOPs and approval by the GTA.

Guyana’s tourism industry has seen its worst year yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a loss of thousands of jobs, billions in revenue for the economy and zero commercial flights for several months. However, the Authority has several plans in the pipeline to facilitate a rebound in 2021, as businesses start to reopen.

Negative impacts to the sector would have included a 98 per cent decline in arrivals due to closure of airports, while 4,600 employees were placed on the breadline – an average of 65 per cent of the total workforce. With businesses recording 42 per cent lower revenue between March and September when compared to 2019, the economy saw an overall loss of 38.2 billion from the sector.