GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday February 3, 2016 – Guyana will be seriously pushing the country as a tourist destination this year.
More than GUY$280 million (US$1.4 million) has been allocated to promote tourism development, preserve cultural identity and economic prosperity, based on the 2016 National Budget recently presented by Finance Minister Winston Jordan. That amount includes 211 indigenous grants which will fund eco- tourism projects and build village economies, catered especially for the 50th Independence celebrations.
“We’ve got a good year ahead of us. Of course because it’s the 50th anniversary and we expect anywhere up to 15,000 visitors coming just in the month of May,” Minister of Telecommunications and Tourism, Catherine Hughes said.
A Bed and Breakfast programme is to be implemented, but will be inspected prior to determine whether the homes meet the requirements before they are approved for public usage. The programme is currently being advertised to accommodate the thousands of visitors expected. People with extra accommodation in their home have been encouraged to open them up to visitors as several hotels are already booked to capacity for that period.
“One of the things that we are doing right now is ensuring that some of the smaller hotels that may not be so popular, we’re working with them to see what availability they have and what recommendations, training we could provide for them to up their standards a bit so that more visitors would be willing to stay at those hotels also,” Minister Hughes added.
Jordan said in his Budget presentation that the Government will develop an operational plan to realize the intent of the recently revised National Tourism Policy. This will lay a foundation for tourism development and ensure collaboration between Government and all stakeholders.
“It will focus on areas such as bird watching, eco-tourism, adventure tourism, wildlife watching, community based tourism, sports fishing, sports tourism, yachting and cruise visits, entertainment and events and heritage/cultural tourism,” he said.
“This policy and operational plan will emphasize the role of tourism in providing jobs and economic growth throughout Guyana, but especially in the hinterlands.”