Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s 2016 Budget presentation to the National Assembly last Friday briefly outlined Government’s intention to develop an “operational plan” for the realisation of the country’s National Tourism Policy, which is currently being designed.
Some of the areas this policy will target include bird watching, eco-tourism destination (pristine tropical rainforest and flora and fauna); adventure tourism; wildlife watching, and hinterland community-based tourism.
In 2015, Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes had stated that the policy would have sought to address a myriad of areas including legislation and regulations on tourism investment, incentives and concessions, marketing, product development, human resource development, infrastructure, aviation, and sustainability.
Sports fishing, sports tourism such as motor racing and cricket; yachting and cruise visits along with entertainment and cultural tourism were all aspects which Minister Hughes highlighted would improve Guyana’s tourism sector.
In the Budget debate in August of last year, Opposition Member of Parliament Jillian Burton-Persaud had voiced criticisms of the current administration, stating that there was no “concretised and sustainable” vision for the development of the tourism industry.
In December of 2015, Minister Hughes, through the Government Information Agency (GINA) had disclosed that the development of the local tourism sector would be pursued in a “studied and structured manner.” To this end, she opined that Guyana must identify itself as South America and should emphasise the magnificence of the Amazon, the Essequibo, many creeks and our dark waters.
This “vision” was expected to be completed by January of this year. However, the policy is still being worked on.