– Tourism Minister
Under the theme ‘Development Cooperation, Win for All’ Guyana was represented at a seminar on Cooperation in Tourism during the just concluded Third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum held in the twin-island of Trinidad and Tobago.
Representing Guyana was Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Manniram Prashad who stated at the event that Guyana is open for business with a very attractive investment climate.
Guyana has recently won the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Award jointly with Harrison’s Cave of Barbados, and will be hosting the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) 13th Annual Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-13) next April.
Prashad said Guyana – the Amazon Adventure and the gateway to the Amazon has much to offer from its pristine tropical and Amazonian rainforest; amazing wildlife; over 860 species of birds; nine indigenous tribes with their low carbon lifestyle; a rich and diverse cultural heritage, along with friendly and welcoming people.
He said Guyana has adopted a low carbon development strategy and is therefore committed to sustainable tourism development.
Minister Prashad said additionally, Guyana is a safe haven, free from the devastating hurricanes and other natural disasters.
According to Prashad, Guyana is shaping up to become the new ‘eco tourism hotspot’, and arrivals have been steadily increasing.
He said several major infrastructural developments have been completed, laying the foundation for an expansion in tourism.
He added that Guyana has received the Approved Destination Status (ADS) from China and is working to tap into this huge outbound Chinese market which is predicted to grow to 100M by 2015.
According to the Tourism Minister, Guyana’s diplomatic relations with China, including investment, continues to be strengthened and expanded, pointing to the Skeldon Sugar Factory and the Guyana International Conference Center, which are legacies of Guyana – China Development Cooperation and “indeed a win for all”.
The Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister said Guyana is open for business and has a dynamic and expanding tourism industry which continues to attract foreign direct investment in the tourism sector.
He said the country which has recorded a 6.9 percent growth in its economy for the first half of this year, offers attractive tourism development investment opportunities and incentives.
And, in an effort to continue growth and investment in the tourism industry, the Government of Guyana through the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) offers incentives and tax exemptions for tourism investment projects, he further added.
He outlined numerous tourism investment opportunities in Guyana, such as properties and accommodation; transportation; tour operations; medical tourism; recreational tourism facilities; niche tourism; films/documentaries; culinary tourism and cruising/boating.
He expressed confidence that the China Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum will help to further enhance sustainable economic development; create investment opportunities and joint ventures; strengthen the relationship between China and the Caribbean; and improve the region’s competitiveness, productivity and innovativeness.
Giving the keynote address at the seminar was Chairman of the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Shao Qiwei, who noted that with the strong support of the Chinese Government, the tourism industry in China is on a fast track of growth.
He said in 2010, China received 55.66 million inbound overnight visitors and recorded 57.39 million outbound visitation, contributing 6.14 percent to international tourist arrivals of the year (935 million in 2010).
The Chinese outbound visitors’ expenditure registered at US$54.9 billion accounting for 5.97 percent of the global visitors spending (US$920 billion in 2010), he said.
He said China has become the third largest inbound tourist destination; the third largest outbound tourism consumer; and the world’s largest domestic tourism market is now taking shape in China.
In recent years, he noted, ten Caribbean countries were designated as ADS countries for China and there have been even closer tourism exchanges between China and the region, with rising number of people travelling back and forth.
“There is a great potential for the tourism cooperation between China and the Caribbean. The Chinese tourism industry stands ready to work with our Caribbean colleagues to create a bright future for our common development,” Qiwei said.
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