Nov 06, 2022 News
By Vanessa Braithwaite
Kaieteur News – For decades, the town of Linden was well known for being the home of bauxite. That era would change when major bauxite producing fields became privatized, thus leaving hundreds of residents without a job.
The town was also known as one of the more economically unstable ones, with a high unemployment rate, lack of investment and being highly dependent on agricultural produce. Over the last five years, however, efforts to diversify the economy of Linden are being made by various stakeholders since it is clear that they cannot continue to solely depend on downsized bauxite operations for a main income.
One of the sectors that is aggressively being sought out for diversification, is the tourism sector. Today, Linden is no longer dubbed a mining town, but a destination town. This transition to a destination town was heightened following a media frenzy towards the Kara Kara Blue Lakes. These blue lakes are indigenous to Region 10 as a result of bauxite mining. Their novelty lies in the absence of dark sediments on the lake bed, which makes pronounced, the reflection of the sky. Its potential for aqua-tourism activities are now exploited and the construction of a facility is being explored at the level of central government.
Not only is the town’s tourism potential being recognized locally, but internationally, as well. Linden was categorised as a prospective World Tourism Destination by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at a World Tourism Summit in Chonqing, China in 2018. The summit was attended by the former Mayor of Linden, Carwyn Holland, and former Regional Chairman, Renis Morian. World leaders considered Linden’s rich scenic beauty, natural picturesque landscape, majestic sandy hills, and natural Rock Springs as high-end tourism gems that must be tapped into. At the recently held regatta in Linden, His Excellency, President Irfaan Ali, said that the prime tourism location of the Kara Kara Blue Lakes, will be developed into an eco-resort since it has all the products for such development.
Not only does Region 10 has a plethora of natural tourism products but it also has several advantages that will enable the sector to advance.
Region 10 is one of Guyana’s most strategically located regions being the only region that borders all three of the main rivers (Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo), has a town with a river passing through it, and it is the only region that borders five other regions. It is also the gateway to our interior regions. Access will be further boosted with the construction of the Linden to Lethem road and the rehabilitation of the Linden to Soesdyke Highway.
Linden also has low energy rates, abundant land, and the residents are hospitable. The hospitality sector is also showing progression with the establishment of many guesthouses, hotels, and bread and breakfasts, restaurants, and tour companies.
It is important to point out that tourism products are not only located in central Linden, but in other outlying communities in Region 10. One of the untapped communities is Malali, which is located 38 miles up the Upper Demerara River. It is a beautiful block of land, nestled neatly between rugged vegetation and is occupied by mostly hospitable Indigenous people. Its attractions include a pristine beach, and picturesque scenery that can be enjoyed in solitude.
Making significant strides to develop the sector is a priority for the Region 10 tourism committee that is being chaired by Member of Parliament Devin Sears. Over 500 tourists visit Linden weekly to partake in aqua and eco-tourism activities. Region 10, he said, has a lot of tourism products to be exploited and the development of the sector can create more than 20,000 jobs, something that is urgently needed.
At the launch of tourism month, 2022, Sears outlined several projects the committee is currently working on to boost tourism within the region. These include the construction of an Eco Lodge at Rockstone, Greatfalls, Calcuni and Kurupukari, the establishment of village tourism committees, and a buy-local tourism shop.
The committee is currently executing over 30 activities for tourism month. Some of the highlights on the calendar are several sporting events, overnight camping at Rockstone, Chutney on the Beach at Coomacka, publication of Linden’s tourist site map, Tacama Savannah Safari, Small Business Exposition, and a Street Food and Rum Festival.
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