Sailing off from the twin island republic, Trinidad and Tobago on September 1, the Nereid Yachting Rally has again graced Guyana’s waters with participants from the United Kingdom, Argentina, Israel, Italy, France, United States, Switzerland and Australia.
The name Nereid has its roots in Greek mythology which means sea nymphs (female spirits of sea waters) who can be very friendly and helpful to sailors fighting perilous storms.
The Tourism Ministry and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) on Thursday hosted a reception at the Hurukabra River Resort to officially welcome the yachtees, all of whom had wonderful things to say about what they have seen of the country, as well as the trademark Guyanese hospitality.
Organiser of the rally, David Matelicani said that this time of year is hurricane season in many other Caribbean islands and this makes Guyana an ideal destination since the country is not plagued by such disasters. “It’s is through the hard work of the Government and the private sector that we are now starting to see Guyana as an alternative destination…sailors don’t need to stay in the Caribbean waiting for hurricane season to end,” Matelicani said.
He said that one of the main purposes of the Nereid Rally has always been to encourage sailors to sail southwards.
Matelicani said that convincing people to sail to Guyana, was easy since it is a country is so well-endowed with natural wonders, has hospitable people and a rich diverse culture.
At the moment there is no place for a yachtsman to go to repair his yacht if the need arises and to this end, a training center for the service and repair of yachts will be opened in Guyana next year. This will then be developed into a marine facility, offering the full range of services including haul out and storage of yachts.
Matelicani said that he is convinced that Guyana can compete with yachting destinations like Trinidad and Tobago, and will be able to attract its share of what is rapidly becoming a multi-million dollar industry.
Meanwhile, GTA’s Director, Indranauth Haralsingh said that the tourism industry is very passionate about the development of a yachting industry in Guyana given the country’s potential. He told the visitors that they are in country that the National Geographic has named as one of the top 20 must see destinations in the world.
The yachtees were taken by Guyana’s pristine environment and Haralsingh informed that the Government is committed to responsible tourism and sustainable development with its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). While other Caribbean countries offer more of a sun, sand and sea tourism, Guyana offers nature, eco and adventure tourism.
In a few days, the rally will proceed to neighbouring Suriname before coming to an end in French Guiana.
The management of the Hurukabra River Resort (Kit and Gem Nascimento) and the regional administration of Region Seven have planned a number guided tours for the yachtees including to Fort Zeelandia, Marshall Falls and the Heritage Day celebrations at Karrau Village on September 13.