Tourism executives are banking on Guyana’s listing by Condé Nast Traveler, a premier travel magazine, as one of the top 20 places to visit next year to further boost the sector which has so far raked in more than GYD$60 billion dollars annually.
Director-General of Tourism, Donald Sinclair told a domestic Regional Tourism Committee Forum that many of the ecotourism destinations in Guyana stand to benefit from the listing in the globally respected travel publication.
“There are persons from the regions whose destinations will be visited when people read in Condé Nast and decide ‘hey’ they must make a trip to Guyana a priority,” said Mr. Sinclair, a former tourism lecturer at the University of Guyana.
Sinclair’s comments came even as the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Brian Mullis noted that there has been an 8.3 percent increase in visitor arrivals. Mullis highlighted that the Bureau of Statistics shows that Guyana is earning more than GYD$62 billion annually based on individual spending. “That number is just going to go up. The key to unlocking the potential is collaboration and I think you all exemplify that,” he told representatives from the ten administrative regions.
Tourism vs Oil
Touching on the importance of the tourism sector compared to the expected huge amount of revenue from Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector, the Director-General of Tourism said “tourism is more people involved”. “Tourism is a people-to-people thing so, yes, we welcome the oil, we take some of the money and develop tourism and so on, so we are happy for both,” Sinclair said.
President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Mitra Ramkumar, saying that the industry benefits the grassroots people, added that while Guyana “is a new oil and gas frontier, we see tourism as a new frontier industry for Guyana”. “It will bring us tremendous benefits and lasting benefits long after the oil has subsided,” he added.
With Guyana being internationally recognised as a leading sustainable destination in the last 10 months, the GTA Director added that “I would argue that we are now on the global travel radar not because of big oil but because Guyana is such an extraordinary travel destination with its wealth of natural and cultural heritage.”
Within the past year, major international airlines – American Airlines, JetBlue and Eastern Airlines – have decided to ply the Guyana-United States route. Those are in addition to COPA Airlines which serves the Guyana-US route as well as several Latin American destinations through its hub in Panama.