–at end of first quarter 2022
AS Guyana continues to make its mark as one of the major tourist destinations in the world, some 51,398 persons have already visited the country in the first quarter of this year.
Based on information from the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), the arrival rates are exceptional and by the end of this year, it is expected to be 10 per cent more than the 158,347 arrivals recorded in 2021.
Although the figure is expected to be significantly higher, the performance in 2021 was still acknowledged, since it was a significant increase from 2020 when the country was facing the full force of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, Guyana’s main ports of entry were closed for seven months, from March 18, 2020, to October 05, 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ports were closed as part of an effort to reduce the spread of the disease.
This closure had a drastic impact on the local tourism industry, but it was quickly addressed with the implementation of several systems by the government to promote safe travel throughout 2021.
At the end of September 2021, the GTA said that Guyana earned approximately $24 billion based on the average expenditure per visitor per type at US$1,060.
In 2021, most visitors travelled to destination Guyana for holiday (64 per cent); business (12 per cent), and visiting friends and relatives (10 per cent), among other reasons (14 per cent).
The GTA noted that a consistent level of support is needed by tourism businesses to ensure that the sector continues to recover safely.
To this end through support from the GTA, there has been a marked increase in tourism businesses being licensed.
As of April 2022, 14 tourism businesses, one new tourism accommodation establishment (hotels, interior lodges/resorts) and one new tourist guide have been licensed by the GTA.
To decentralise tourism and expand other tourism hotspots areas within Guyana, seven new experiential tourism products were officially launched in 2021, with 12 new experiences expected to be added in 2022.
More specifically, the GTA’s product development team has initiated various projects with key stakeholders.
These include the Kopinang Waterfall experience with licensed operator Azure Experiences; Yoga, Breakfast & Nature Walk with licensed operator Azure Experiences; Nappi Mountain Trekking with Bushcow Eco-Trails; and a nature retreat experience with licensed operator Wanderlust Adventures.
It includes the Linden day-tour experience with Destination Tours; Wayne’s World Apartments & Oasis; community-led and owned tourism development with Quarrie Village; Tri-Island experience with licensed tour operator Trail Masters, and Mahaica River birding tour.
TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING
The GTA said it continues to work towards strengthening resilience and improving the product offering of the industry and has executed key training sessions in areas of delivering quality service, first aid & CPR, culinary arts, green events/event planning, successful taxi driver and more importantly hygiene and sanitation protocols.
“As of April 2022, the GTA has trained 355 persons across the country in the areas of Delivering Quality Service, Hygiene & Sanitation, First Aid & CPR and Digital Marketing Essentials. At the end of 2022, GTA is expected to train at least 2,000 candidates. An additional 1,000 are expected to be trained as part of the collaborative Barbados training initiative,” the release said.
This Hygiene and Sanitation Protocols training, as part of the Safe Lodges, Safe Guests & Safe Communities project was updated to reflect CARPHA guidelines, US CDC guidelines, Adventure Travel Trade Association guidelines as well as best practices that the GTA has seen in the Rupununi.
According to a GTA release, the organisation in collaboration with I-Net Communications Inc., facilitated the installation of an internet system at Warapoka Guest House, Region One. This is one of the priority projects that was successfully completed to ensure that guests have a comfortable stay during their visit to the community.
In 2019, the GTA facilitated the electrical rewiring of the entire guest house and installed a complete photovoltaic solar system.
The GTA also donated a number of items to Quarrie Guest House as the village commenced its tourism development journey. These items included bedroom furnishings as well as kitchen and washroom utensils.