Air travel is getting more expensive…one travel agent using exchange rate of GYD$250

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 March 2017, 15:49 by Denis Chabrol

Less than 24 hours after a section of the business community expressed concern that Guyana’s exchange rate has plummeted to GYD$230 to US$1.00, the local company representing Dynamic Airways has informed airlines that ticket sales must be calculated at GYD$250.

Checks with a number of travel agencies confirmed that Roraima Airways Thursday afternoon informed them in writing that Dynamic Airlines’ tickets must be sold at the new rate, which is GYD$30 more than on Wednesday.

“They gave us no notice,” a senior travel agent told Demerara Waves Online News. “The Dynamic rate is quite ridiculous because nobody is going for that figure. There is no need for us to get crazy,” another agent added in a separate interview.

When contacted, Chief Executive Officer of the Roraima Group of Companies, Capt. Gerry Gouveia denied that his company wrote the travel agencies telling them that tickets must now be sold at a rate of GYD$250 to US$1.00.

Instead, Gouveia said Roraima has asked the travel agencies to accept ticket payments only in United States (US) dollars. “No, no, no I told my people to let them (travelers) pay their tickets in US dollars so we don’t have to deal with the exchange rate,” he said, adding that is the requirement for any of the services  such as charters and tourism flights being offered by Roraima. He explained that the reason for taking this step is because all of his airlines’ spare parts have to be bought with the US dollars that are now very scarce.

“What happened this (Thursday) morning when I checked the Cambios, they said they were selling at GYD$220 but they don’t have. They can’t even get move,” he said.

Sources in the travel agency business were evidently worried about the impact that the sliding exchange rate would have especially on tickets already purchased.

Eastern Airlines continues to sell their tickets using the exchange rate of about GYD$215 or GYD$220, while Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica are taking Guyana dollar payments at GYD$208.44 in keeping with rates posted by the Bank of Guyana.

TravelSpan, a source, said has also issued an advisory to travel agencies, telling them that the rate has increased from GYD$216 in the last few weeks to GYD$220.

The Bank of Guyana continues to assure that there is enough foreign currency to satisfy demand, but has at the same conceded that businesses that would like to buy US dollar drafts or wire funds overseas to pay for imports have to join a queue for verification purposes.

Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited is calculating Online purchases through its debit cards at GYD$230, up from GYD$217 in recent months.

The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) has warned that with the slippage of the exchange rate, companies may have to send home some workers and the cost of goods will skyrocket.

Sources in the foreign exchange market have told Demerara Waves Online News that US dollars are scarce because of not only of reduced earnings from sugar, rice, forest products and bauxite, but also illegal inflows from drugs and smuggled gold.