[www.inewsguyana.com] – Intensifying awareness of the country’s tourism potential was the highlight at the launch of Tourism Awareness Month 2014 by the Ministry of Tourism Industry & Commerce last evening.
The 20th Tourism Awareness Month was launched under the theme: Tourism Entrepreneur and Ambassadors mobilised.
Guyana established a “tourism ambassador programme” which was patterned after a Trinidad module. Speaking during the launch at the Amerindian Village located in the Sophia Exhibition Complex, Minister of Tourism (ag) Irfaan Ali stressed on the need for Guyanese to be reminded of the importance of the sector in Guyana’s future.
“The growth of this sector cannot be achieved alone, we need partners in order to move forward,” the Minister said.
Minister Ali said that the industry is at its developing stage, where protocols and guidelines are being established.
The need for sport fishing and its potential was reiterated by the Minister as he went on to state that the ministry has implemented incentives to aid in reduced cost for local travellers to explore the beauty of Guyana.
The Minister also said there is need for infrastructure and an environment which meets international standards to attract tourists while the private sector was urged to become members of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) since it will open opportunities for the enjoyment of the income expected from the 100,000 Guyanese who are anticipated to return to Guyana in 2015 as ‘Guyana Homecoming 2015’ takes off.
In this regard the ministry is working with THAG and various airlines to design a marketing strategy for the homecoming campaign. Extensive social media marketing is aspect of the strategy.
The private sector has invested heavily into the tourism sector to create the environment and facilities to drive tourism.
Ramesh Persaud, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission said Guyana is a place of many unexplored business opportunities, especially in the tourism sector.
Newly appointed Chairman/ President of THAG, Shaun McGrath, said, “as a hotelier in Guyana for the past 25 years, I have heard people say tourism is not going to happen in Guyana. They say they have to clean up the place first but the truth is, tourism is well and alive in Guyana.”
Hotels in the interior are filled, McGrath said. He talked of the fact that Guyanese need to be made aware of the tourism potential of Guyana.
Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Jamaica and others have implemented programmes in schools to start with tourism awareness in the minds of children. This is an initiative which Guyana has now taken up.
Among other activities to raise tourism awareness include the launch of restaurant week on November 10 to 16, World Travel Market on November 3 to 6 in London which will include the launch of the Explore Guyana magazine, School talks, Customer Service and servers training among other activities.
[Extracted and modified from GINA]