Wilderness Explorers celebrate 20th Anniversary with cocktails
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President Donald Ramotar greets Diane McTurk, the heart and soul of Karanambu Ranch
President Donald Ramotar greets Diane McTurk, the heart and soul of Karanambu Ranch

PRESIDENT Donald Ramotar has assured Wilderness Explorers that the Government would ‘be with the company’ in its quest to maximise its growth in the industry and make it one of the most important in our country. 

Wilderness Explorers members pose with their awards along with President Donald Ramotar and executive members at the company’s 20th Anniversary cocktail reception
Wilderness Explorers members pose with their awards along with President Donald Ramotar and executive members at the company’s 20th Anniversary cocktail reception

Gracing that company’s cocktail reception to mark its 20th anniversary, last Friday evening at Cara Lodge in Quamina Street, Georgetown, the President said:
“We still have some challenges to face, and I think we have made some sound investments in an industry that is growing; and as it gets more developed, mankind will want to feel the wonders of nature, and that is why it is important to preserve our environment.”

The President expounded on how tourism is playing an important role in society, and is recognised as one of the most important portfolios in the future development of our economy and country as a whole. He said that that is the reason why the Government would be giving tourism development its “full support.”
The President noted that those involved in the industry — particularly as pioneers — had great foresight to recognise the industry’s potential and invest in its development.

He also commended the Minister of Tourism, Industry & Commerce, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, on his two and a half years of “enthusiastic” leadership of the tourism industry.

The cocktail reception was also graced with the presence of Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds; Minister of Tourism, Industry & Commerce, Mohamed Irfaan Ali; former Tourism, Industry & Commerce Minister, Manzoor Nadir; President of the Tourism & Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Christopher ‘Kit’ Nascimento; and Managing Director of Wilderness Explorers, Tony Thorne, who spoke on the development of the company and on new initiatives it has implemented.

Tourism Minister, Irfaan Ali remarked on the exceptional work being done by Wilderness Explorers, explaining that the company has laid a perfect foundation for the tourism sector, and is considered a “strategic partner” in promoting Guyana.

He noted that the tourism sector cannot be advanced by the efforts of the Government, the Tourism Ministry or THAG alone, because “we need to work together with a common understanding of where we want the sector to go forward, and that is my aim.”

Minister Ali disclosed that what the Tourism Ministry has under active consideration is whether there should be a regional marketing policy. In this regard, he said, the entire Caribbean has realised that it is nonsensical for every country to develop its own marketing budget.

“They can’t compete with other countries. There is no resource, so the Region is debating whether we should have a regional marketing fund,” since, in Guyana, we cannot compete with individual companies to market our business.
So there should be a panel discussion in a more “realistic ream” aimed at developing a national marketing fund, since it will market tourism for Guyana.”

And that is what the minister proposed “we should strategically work on.”

Minister Ali praised President Ramotar on his commitment and strong belief in the tourism sector, and on the support the President has given him in discharging his responsibility as Minister of Tourism. He also commended THAG for its faithful support to the tourism sector, especially in regard to passage of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML/CFT) Bill.

The minister was proud to announce that Guyana appeared on the cover of COPA, which has more than 80 destinations; and he said that Wilderness Explorers is an example of partnering for the development of this sector.

“We are willing to work with you and support you in making Guyana more recognized,” Minister Ali declared.

Mr. Christopher Nascimento said THAG was keen to establish the fact that the private sector had long invested to build the tourism sector; hence “we look now to embrace that initiative to foster financial commitment with the private sector.” He said the aim is to put Guyana firmly on the map as a tourist destination of choice in the world.

Whilst the national budget was in preparation stage, THAG had provided the Minister of Finance with detailed proposals on incentives for the industry, anticipating the proposals would make the industry able to compete with regional competitors in the Caribbean and Central America. The incentives were based on recommendations from consultants the Government itself engages.

Not seeing the incentives reflected in the national budget, Mr Nascimento bemoaned, “We will remain uncompetitive in our country until (the industry is granted incentives to develop).”

Nevertheless, at the GuyExpo launching, ministers assured that the Government “is going to run those incentives.”

Nascimento noted that the sector urgently needs to be developed; and, more importantly, implement marketing strategies. “Let’s take 20 years of private sector commitment and match it with Government support and make this country a jewel of the Caribbean,” he challenged.

Wilderness Explorers promotes ecology-sensitive tourism through a responsible and concerned attitude towards the environment. The company also provides maximum benefit to the local communities by operating in an honest, thoughtful, and concerned manner towards its customs, and involving the communities in such a way as to afford them the greatest financial benefit possible. The company is known for offering professional tourism services of an international standard to its consumers.
Written By Shivanie Sugrim

 

 

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