Last Updated on Monday, 27 March 2023, 22:55 by Denis Chabrol
British Airways is projected to add tens of thousands of visitors annually to Guyana, Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond said at Monday’s ceremony to welcome that carrier’s first scheduled to flight to this South American nation.
She said that airline would offer more than 33,000 seats annually to travellers to and from Guyana to Britain with connections to other European destinations and the Caribbean and Central America. “We have been proactively preparing for this influx of visitors and, as you move around Guyana, you would notice a lot of construction activities some of which are associated with the hospitality sector,” Ms Walrond said.
Without divulging details, Aviation Minister Juan Edghill said Guyanese authorities did not have to work hard to convince British Airways to add Guyana to its route of scheduled services with connections via St Lucia. “It was easy for them to make that decision because of the numbers that we were seeing and almost 35 percent of those travellers were business class passengers,” he added.
Mr Edghill added that “this would have made no sense whatsoever” if the United Kingdom did not lift its visa restriction on Guyanese.
Public Works Minister Deodat Indar said before Monday’s commencement of scheduled flights here, British Airways had been operating chartered flights to Guyana to fly crew members in for the two Stena Carron drill-ships in the Stabroek Block. Mr Edghill added that a third Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel is expected in Guyana later this year.
With Guyana’s visitor arrivals 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels, officials hope that Guyana would record 1 million visitors by 2026, up from 660,000 last year.
British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller said the return of British Airways’ scheduled flights for the first time in 42 years marks “a new step in the UK-Guyana relationship” especially in the areas of tourism and business. UK’s Minister for the Americas and the Caribbean, David Rutley hailed the BA scheduled service to Guyana was a huge landmark and a “real vote of confidence in the economy and people of Guyana.”
Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Edghill hinted that at least one other European airline would be flying to Guyana, but he did not provide any details. “Guyana will become so busy and sooner or later you wouldn’t be able to gets seats on British Airways,” he added.