BY DEVINA SAMAROO
Having made significant strides over the years, Guyana’s largest trade fair and exhibition has the potential to blast into a mega regional event, once a strategic plan is developed to guide the way.
Business Minister Dominic Gaskin was quoted by Guyana Times recently as saying that Government is paving the way for GuyExpo to become a regional initiative, whereby businesses from across the Caribbean and Latin America can gather at one enormous event to foster intercontinental trade.
“It can happen. It is not a dream. It certainly is ambitious but I think we need to be ambitious,” the Minister remarked as he toured some of the booths that were on display at the Sophia Exhibition Centre where GuyExpo 2016 was held.
The concept of the trade fair and exhibition developing into a regional event was first mentioned by the Business Minister during his presentation at the GuyExpo 2016 opening ceremony on Thursday last.
“It needs to become a much more foreign affair, that is, it must attract foreign exhibitors and it must attract foreign buyers. ‘Guyana means business’ will have to be embodied in Guyana in the coming years and this event must become the launchpad for businesses seeking access to both local and foreign markets,” Gaskin had declared.
Expanding on this notion, Gaskin pointed out that though there is regional and international participation in GuyExpo, it does not translate to the event being regional.
“We do have exhibitors from the region, and we have visitors from the region, and we have visitors from the United States, but it’s not a regional event as yet… we have to progressively move from this stage to this event being something that is on the calendar of businesses throughout the Caribbean,” he explained.
Gaskin said a forum would provide the ideal opportunity for the regional buyers, suppliers and service providers to do matchmaking, place orders and exchange knowledge.
In order to reach to this stage, however, the Business Minister said there needs to be a strategic plan.
“We need to perhaps engage some sort of expertise that can point us in the right direction in terms of how one can go about planning for a growing expo… because obviously it doesn’t start with one event, we have to build this particular event to a level where it starts going regional,” he stated.
Gaskin expressed confidence that this vision can become a reality if Guyana targets the various regional sectors and make itself relevant to their local industries.