Tourism Month launched with focus on preserving cultural heritage

0

With a keen focus on strengthening the link between cultural heritage and tourism appeal, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, in collaboration with the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) on Wednesday launched Tourism Awareness Month 2023 under the theme: “Cultural Tapestry: Investing in Our People, Enriching Our Heritage”.

This theme speaks to a collective effort to embrace and celebrate the diverse makeup of Guyana’s cultural landscape and use these vibrant elements to position the country as a premium tourist destination.

The launching was held at the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, Georgetown.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond told attendees that, “Tourists across the globe continue to seek out authentic experiences that allow them to explore the way of life of others.

“That is why the experiences within our Amerindian communities form such a strong component of destination Guyana. It is therefore vital that as a destination, we position our culture and religious festivals as an integral part of our tourism offering.”

She added that Guyana’s tourism appeal is further heightened through the invigorating cultural fusion that emanates from the Cricket Carnival events, and these ventures demonstrate the vast potential that lies in merging cultural heritage and tourism.

“There is a link between our cultural heritage and tourism. Therefore, going forward, we can expect to see a wider integration of culture within our tourism thrust, and it is with this end that we have started a working group to explore how we can fully integrate our objective of preserving our heritage and hence celebrating our tangible and intangible heritage to promote tourism,” she stressed.

According to the minister, this year’s theme also reflects the government’s push to invest in building human capacity and local talent.

“We will enrich the awareness of culture by creating a greater cultural identity with a consistent promotion of the arts through events like these, and investing in our cultural groups. The Ministry of Tourism will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport to ensure that there is a deeper involvement of cultural performers, artistes and entertainers at major events,” the tourism minister pledged.

Meanwhile, Director of the GTA, Kamrul Baksh, emphasised that culture is a core pillar of tourism in Guyana, and the aim this year is to ensure that the country’s culture is equitably highlighted.

Vice Chair of the National Toshaos Council, Sonia Latchman pointed to the importance of tourism in indigenous communities, noting that the carbon credit funds have been instrumental in enabling many communities to merge tourism into economic activities through the development of tourism infrastructure.

“Our Amerindian villages play a crucial role in positively impacting tourism in Guyana. Our villages provide visitors with an authentic cultural experience, allowing them to immerse themselves in the traditions, customs and way of life of our people. Tourism initiatives support local livelihood, provide employment opportunities, and empower indigenous people to showcase our traditions,” she said.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, and President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, Omadele George were also in attendance at the event.

This month’s activities will see an exciting series of events aimed at highlighting and appreciating Guyana’s rich cultural tapestry.