GTA prepares for eventual reopening of tourism sector

Training facilitator, Mr. Kenneth Shivdyal and the trainees visit the manatee pond at the National Park.

More than 20 city tour guides completed a two-day training exercise as the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) prepares for the eventual reopening of the tourism sector.

In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) today, Training Facilitator, Mr. Kenneth Shivdyal said the exercise is an important part of preparation.

“We need to ensure that the persons who are out there are properly equipped to change the mindset of persons when they come to Guyana, and help them have the best possible experience when they are on tour, not just on the Georgetown city tour, but Guyana in general,” he explained.

Mr. Shivdyal said the training is particularly important now as it also gave the GTA an opportunity to test the COVID-19 preventative measures.

“Given COVID-19, this also gives us the opportunity to test some of the protocols that we have put in place to ensure that our guests remain safe, but also to train the new persons on how to safely engage with their guests,” he added.

GTA Training and Tourism Development Officer, Mr. Chetnauth Persaud said while the training related more to adventure and general tour guiding, the pandemic has impacted the course.

“Given all that has happened, it has really changed the way in which we do training. We are more into virtual training, which has opened up so much more horizons for us because we are able to [reach] persons in any part of Guyana right now,” he said.

However, he did point out that some training, such as the city tour training, will necessitate face-to-face interaction.

Meanwhile, several participants told DPI that they were grateful for the GTA’s continued support.

Ms. Roselyn Sewcharran of Wonderlust Adventures Gy, a tour company which concentrates on local tourism, said she was happy to capitalise on the opportunity to learn.

“During COVID-19, we were actually given an opportunity to train to be better tourism ambassadors […] We are representing the country as a whole. It’s a great opportunity what GTA is doing, giving us the opportunity to learn so much from them and the pioneers that have been about a long time and during the down time it has given us the opportunity to grow as a new business,” Ms. Sewcharran said.

Another tour operator, Ms. Cherryann Greene of Ride Along Gy also lauded the training.

“I must commend the Ministry on a fantastic job that they have done in the training and in the general aspects of making us ambassadors of tourism in Guyana [….] COVID 19 has taught us a lot. This is something new for all of us that we are not accustomed to…One takeaway is the social distancing – we have to learn to come up with unique ways that we can still have business and thrive as an economy,” she said.

The GTA has planned four other training sessions for this year.