Guyana-Barbados agree to “twin” tourism product

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As the Governments of Guyana and Barbados work to enhance collaboration and trade, the two Caricom (Caribbean Community) nations have agreed, among other things, on jointly marketing their tourism destinations.

This was revealed by President Dr Irfaan Ali. During a press conference on Friday, the Head of State gave a briefing of his recent bilateral engagements including with Prime Minister Mia Mottley on the sidelines of the 15th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Meeting held in Barbados earlier this month.

According to President Ali, he and the Barbadian PM agreed on pursuing collaborations to boost each other’s tourism sector. This includes exchanging 45 minutes of air time to promote both countries’ tourism sector.

“So, we agreed, both Prime Minister Mottley and I, that we will exchange 45 minutes of air time for the promotion of Barbados in Guyana and for the promotion of Guyana in Barbados. In addition to this, we agreed on working out the mechanism for the twinning of our tourism product, for the joint marketing of our tourism product and to promote Guyana and Barbados as a common destination,” he outlined.

In addition to developing a joint marketing strategy, and having recognised the demands that will emerge for personnel in the hospitality sector in Guyana, Barbados will facilitate the training of thousands of Guyanese to enhance the local capacity.

“You know Barbados has an established world-class hospitality programme, and they’re going to support us in the training of 6000 Guyanese who will function in the hospitality sector,” he noted.

While he noted that this will be an ongoing initiative between the two countries, President Ali explained that the training of these 6000 persons is especially critical at this point given the number of international-branded hotels that are currently being constructed and others that are in the pipeline.

“We have a lot of investment in the hospitality sector that is coming and we need to have the technical capacity and the human resources to manage and to work in those hotels… So, the need for training is immediate,” he stressed.

The Head of State noted that these training sessions will be conducted through distanced learning through online training as well as exchange programmes.

Gold market hub

Meanwhile, another major outcome of those discussions is the possibility of adding value to Guyana’s gold by creating a gold market hub concept in Barbados that will focus on tapping into the island’s tourist population.

President Dr Irfaan Ali in discussion with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley during his visit to the island earlier this month

“Some cruise liners go to some [Caribbean] islands specifically because of the creation of a gold market hub. So, that is what we are trying to create. Barbados is a major cruise destination and we’re working on the possibility of adding value to Guyana’s gold and creating a gold market hub concept in Barbados,” Ali indicated.

On the other hand, Barbados has committed to exploring Guyana’s wood forestry products with the intention of incorporating them into their market.

According to the Head of State, he and his Barbadian counterpart also hammered out a concrete time-bound framework for enhanced collaboration and trade between Guyana and Barbados in the areas of food production and export.

This includes increased production, removal of barriers to trade and the possibility of a Guyana-Barbados food terminal; transport logistics and efficiency; agro-processing facilities; a Guyana-Barbados food sustainability plan; finding the sanitary gaps and commitment to bridging those gaps; and exchange of technicians between the Ministries of Agriculture to facilitate smooth and efficient transaction flow.

“So, what we have agreed on is that we will have a Guyanese in the Ministry of Agriculture in Barbados and a Bajan in the Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana. So that Guyanese can deal directly with their counterpart in Barbados and that Barbados can deal directly with their counterpart here. Thus, removing the hassle, the barriers, the bureaucracy—that is what we are trying to remove here,” President Ali stated.

In addition to opportunities for quarry, feedstock, livestock, and limestone, the two regional leaders also discussed the sharing of port space to facilitate trade and reduce costs for the movement of goods between the two countries. They are looking to identify specific port space for Barbados in Guyana and for Guyana in Barbados to reduce the costs of transportation, to improve efficiency, to enhance trade and to deliver products at a far cheaper cost to the markets.

President Ali said he and Prime Minister Mottley have committed to a timeframe that the results from this enhanced partnership will be felt by the population of both countries.
Only recently, a high-level delegation from Barbados visited Guyana to commence technical work on the opportunities discussed between the two Heads of State. The team looked at infrastructure projects and housing sites, meeting with several Ministers and Government officials including President Ali to discuss investment opportunities.