By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Indranauth Haralsingh has expressed optimism that the Tourism sector will now be in the hands of an experienced professional with expertise in the field.
He was referring to Cathy Hughes, who was sworn as Minister of Tourism on Wednesday, May 20 by President David Granger at the Ministry of Presidency.
Responding to questions about the Minister’s appointment, Haralsingh praised Hughes, pointing out her many years of experience in various areas of the sector, which he believes will serve the Ministry well.
“She has been one of the persons who has been very critical in lobbying for the establishment of the GTA…and we’re looking forward to working with her…we’re very optimistic that we can see dramatic transformation in tourism because she is coming with a lot of experience, she is coming with a solid partnership and private sector experience because she has been a tourism operator herself.”
Additionally, he noted that a number of initiatives that were started by the previous Minister will continue in their efforts to market destination Guyana.
“They will be looking at increasing airlift…improving connectivity, improving our marketing that has been a sore issue for years so that we can eventually improve and increase arrival, increase length of stay, increase visitor expenditure in Guyana…heritage attraction, capacity building and training, the hospitality institute.”
Haralsingh boasted of the potential the tourism sector has, but noted it has to be harnessed well.
“Tourism has the greatest potential to transform Guyana…it is an export industry and it has the best possibility and it has the best of diversifying Guyana’s economy and of bringing benefits all across the country…it creates a lot of employment, generates a lot of revenue and it brings a lot of foreign currency to Guyana.”
Meanwhile, the sector had seen a decrease of 4.6% in tourists’ arrival for the month of April which was the period leading up to Guyana’s recently concluded 2015.
The country however recorded a 13.9% increase in arrivals for the first quarter of this year.
Haralsingh shared these figures with media as he responded to criticisms that have been leveled against the organization he heads, claiming that recent statistics provided in relation to visitor arrivals were false.
He has since dispelled this story to be untrue and walked the media through the process to clarify how the information is captured and analyzed.