Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 20:59 by GxMediaThe Curacao-headquartered Insel Air is being seen as a fillip for Guyana’s slowly emerging eco-tourism industry and already there are plans to jointly market here with two Dutch Caribbean islands.
The airline’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Nejeska Mesman, hopes that Insel Air will further integrate Guyana and bring more visitors here. “Our promise is to help Guyana get out of the isolation it was in the past couple of years but also not only for Guyanese people to go to other destinations but also bring people to Guyana,” she told a reception at Duke Lodge, Duke Street, Kingston, Georgetown.
Insel Air boasts high safety and on-time records to its 17 destinations and connections to Europe, South and North America.
Tourism Minister, Irfan Ali plugged the need for Insel Air and Guyanese authorities as well as travel agents to aggressively market Aruba, Curacao and Guyana as a package to allow visitors to enjoy stretches of white sand beaches and blue water in the Caribbean and rich eco-tourism spots here.
“We are going to look at twinning the marketing strategy. While we experience the beach and the blue water, we want also tourists to have the exciting opportunity of the best in eco, nature and adventure tourism in this part of the world which Guyana offers,” he said.
Speaking directly to travel agents, a number of whom were present, the Tourism Minister told them that no longer is their business to sell tickets but to market a destination. “Sometimes we get carried away with the minimal commission on the sale of ticket and we don’t understand the wider importance of marketing packages and selling packages and this is an area that we are weak in,” he said.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Ramesh Persaud forecasts that Guyana’s economy can register a boost if, through Insel Air, a minimum of one percent of the 1.5 million tourists to Aruba and Curacao visit here for two nights. He said Guyanese should also seek to tap into Aruba and Curacao markets for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Latest statistics show that there has been an 18 percent increase in visitor arrivals up to April, 2014 compared to the same period last year, partly due to the new airlines that have entered the Guyanese market. Fly Jamaica and Travel Span have joined Caribbean Airlines in increasing airlift in and out of Guyana.
Chief Executive Officer of Roraima Airways Group of Companies, Gerry Gouveia urged all to partner with the government and the wider Guyanese public in ensuring that existing and new carriers like Insel Air, Copa Airlines retain the Guyana route. “They are not going to stay on this route if we don’t fill those seats and we will have to partner with the airlines, the govt of Guyana and the people of Guyana,” he said.
Gouveia, whose company is the local agent and ground handler for Insel Air, said his confidence in the tourism industry has been buoyed by government’s decision to build the Marriott-branded hotel and overhaul the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. “Only a fool will build a big hotel. Only a fool will build a big airport and don’t follow it with a dynamic marketing strategy to market this beautiful country,” he said.
CEO of Insel Air (Aruba), Frederick Nuboer noted that “This is an opportunity in connecting Guyana with all of the airlines that arrive in Aruba.” The airline’s inaugural flight to and from Miami through Aruba and Curacao begins on June 18 and offers low fares until year-end