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Chilean funds for Guyana’s eco-tourism marketing strategy

L to R: UNDP Resident Representative, Khadija Musa and Tourism Minister, Irfan Ali sign the agreement in the presence of other officials.

Funds from a Chile programme aimed at boosting South-South cooperation are to be used to craft Guyana’s eco-tourism marketing strategy and help the poor and vulnerable in communities rich in eco-tourism potential develop sustainable businesses.

Tourism Minister, Irfan Ali said that US$80,000 of the US$200,000 grant would be spent of developing the strategy to push Guyana as a nature tourism destination. Noting that Guyana’s eco-tourism is community-based, he said Guyana and Chile would collaborate in conducting a joint assessment “on what we have here and what needs to be done as against what the best players are doing.”

The money is being made available from Chile, through the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) office there, after a proposal was submitted jointly by the UNDP office here and the Guyana government to pursue the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of Alleviating Extreme Poverty.

UNDP Resident Representative, Khadija Musa said the cash from Chile’s South-South Cooperation initiative would also focus on exchanging knowledge and expertise between the two countries in poverty alleviation through South-South dialogue.

“This fund can be used by government to sharpen their policy on alleviating poverty,” she said at a signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Tourism.

The Tourism Minister said communities would be trained and training manuals and other material provided to help them develop their capacity to take advantage of investment opportunities in eco-tourism.

At least US$100,000 would be set aside to develop and equip rural entrepreneurs with the skills and expertise to manage and create efficient competitive businesses through sound financial management. The project provides for US$20,000 to be spent on training persons to conduct assessments and understand the market before starting up a business.

“This grant is coming at a good time. It is coming at a time when we are focussing a lot in government on entrepreneurial development, on improving livelihoods and at the same time we are focussing heavily on eco tourism and building an eco tourism market and product that is community-oriented,” said Ali.