By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Prominent Guyanese entrepreneur and aviation professional, Captain Gerald ‘Gerry’ Gouveia has reiterated the negative impact Guyana’s garbage situation is having on tourism even as he made a personal plug for the long overdue Local Government Elections (LGE) to be held.
Gouveia said the garbage situation is a major issue for him and believes the only thing that can sustainably correct the problem is local government elections.
His calls come amid recent revelations by President Donald Ramotar that LGE, which was last held in 1994, will not be held anytime soon and the roll out of a countrywide “clean up my country” initiative which $1B has been dedicated towards.
He said the issue of indiscriminate disposal of waste and large unsanitary pile up of garbage is no less a problem in the capital city, Georgetown than it is countrywide.
“People in the City and across the country need to hold their elected representatives responsible, until we have these elections we will continue to see this,” Gouveia said; adding that “we can’t hold people accountable in an abstract way we need to hold individual people accountable… that is what will solve this problem in my mind.”
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he said garbage is always a problem but may not be too much of a daunting one.
“For those that come here, they see the garbage and they know it’s a problem but they love the buildings and the people. When visitors and tourist comment on their tours afterwards it doesn’t dominate their comments or discussions,” he added.
Gouveia boasted of his 22 year old company – Roraima Group of Companies – and the job it has been able to do in marketing Guyana’s tourism product; saying the business continues to grow and now generates approximately $1B a year.
He said some 3000 people pass through his nature resort – Arrowpoint – annually.
“A lot of persons don’t understand and have no appreciation for tourism… its happening everyday… some of our leaders talk about it but they still don’t understand.”
The country’s new destination brand was unveiled at the World Travel Market (WTM), in London during a cocktail reception in the Guyana booth, Monday afternoon.
According to the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Indranauth Haralsingh, the first day was a tremendous success; Haralsingh is heading the delegation to WTM which also includes Sanchia Persaud, Senior Tourism Development Officer and Tosheika Logan, Research and Planning Analyst.
“Day one was an excellent day for Guyana. Everyone likes the brand and logo, the launch was a tremendous success if you take into account the massive reach that this event has,” he said.
While there, the team will attend key meetings with several tour operators, travel agents, media and publications.
As to the benefits of Guyana’s continued participation in the event, the GTA Director explained, “WTM is the perfect opportunity for us to continue our outreach to international tourists, not only will we reach the UK market but also buyers from countries all over the world.”
Guyana is also being represented by Wilderness Explorers, Rupununi Trails and Iwokrama at WTM, which is one of the leading travel and trade shows attracting influential figures in and around the travel industry who offer the latest insights, trends and invaluable knowledge to all who visit.