A new initiative which seeks to provide tourists with guidelines to hotspots in each of the ten administrative regions is underway.
Yesterday, regional authorities and tourism officials shared their vision with the Department of Tourism and the Board of the Guyana Tourism Authority, (GTA), for flagship projects of their region at a one -day workshop held at the Regency Hotel in Hadfield Street.
Participants of the workshop included representatives from Ministries, NGOs, commercial banks, University of Guyana, the GTA, THAG, private sector institutions, the media, the current and immediate Presidents of THAG, as well as past Board members of the GTA Board.
The event provided a platform for stakeholders to highlight projects and ideas that will garner potential investors and tourists alike.
During the session, regional stakeholders made powerpoint presentations on drafting a guideline which will help to re-define Guyana as a tourist destination.
In his remarks, Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin, under whose purview the Department falls, pointed to the need for the projects to be a sustainable one.
He noted that tourism must be sustainable beyond political transition.
“You know Guyana is a democracy, Governments come, and Governments go at the Central level and at the Regional level. But when we decide on our flagship tourism projects we must put investors in touch with the regions and invest as a government in marketing the products transcending the realm of politics.”
Meanwhile, Director General of the Department of Tourism, Donald Sinclair, explained that “the whole idea of the initiative is to devolve tourism planning to the level of the regions, and allow stakeholders in these regions more involvement in the decision-making process.”
Giving an overview of the genesis of the project, Sinclair told the gathering that in 2017 teams from the department visited all ten administrative regions to listen to the stakeholders on the topic of tourism.
He said that the meetings provided regional stakeholders an opportunity to share their plans, views and ideas on the best hotspots for tourist within their local districts.
“We gave general guidelines and parameters. We discussed criteria to ensure that terms like ‘tourism attraction’ market appeal’ were properly understood. Then based upon those guidelines and criteria, we asked the stakeholders to work in groups to propose what we termed the tourism hotspots in each Region.
“In that process, we heard from toshaos and tour operators, village elders and boat captains, from some officials who knew every creek, river, falls, hill and passage in their region.
“In many cases, the discussions literally turned the region, from a tourism standpoint, inside out.”
This year, Sinclair explained that the department is taking the initiative a step further by asking the regional stakeholders to identify a flagship tourism project — an initiative that would reflect the best the region has to offer from a tourist standpoint.
“These projects, once discussed, vetted and reviewed internally in the level of the regions, would then be brought to this forum to receive the inputs and clarity from tourism stakeholders, professionals, operators, Ministry representatives, on the way forward,” he added.
Yesterday’s seminar included proposals for an Adventure Tour business in Region One, the development of a trail to link three lakes in Region Two, a Victoria Heritage Trail in Region Four, upper Mahaicony River Tour in Region Five, East Berbice Water route in Region Six, Bartica yachting destination in Region Seven, Mahdia Kaieteur route in Region Eight, a trek through the Rupununi in Region Nine and a Bauxite Centennial Heritage Park in Region Ten.
During his presentations, President of Region Three Chamber of Commerce, Halim Khan, shared his idea garnering support from investors and tourism officials to enhance the grossly dilapidated Vreed- en- Hoop stelling.
Under his proposal titled “Waterfront Development Project” Khan shared his idea of roving the aesthetics of the harbour. The proposed new Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling will include a boardwalk, adequate lighting and vending areas.
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