Explore Guyana 2009, the glossy tourist guide which dedicates over 100 pages to describing Guyana’s geographical beauty and appeal was launched last month.

The magazine, produced annually by the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) is distributed free of cost to tourists and potential tourists in an attempt to provide an in-depth and personal account of Guyana as a tourist destination.

The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher, an exotic bird which resides in several South American territories, adorns the cover in keeping with this year’s theme ‘The Amazon Adventure Experience for Yourself.’ The first copy was presented to Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, performing the functions of President, along with a framed copy of the edition’s cover page that would be mounted at the Office of the President. In his address, Hinds said, “hospitality can be our bread and butter.” Flipping through the colourful pages of the publication readers can find maps of Guyana and Georgetown, a brief history, personal accounts of visits, art and information covering a range of areas; from business and finances to accommodation and other useful services. Renata Chuck-A-Sang, President of THAG said the magazine has taken a new approach this year. Instead of using articles that were written mainly from the third person perspective, she explained, THAG opted to have the “real” stories told by those who have experienced it for themselves.

At the launch she pointed out that the global economic crisis took its toll on Guyanese businesses throughout 2008. Chuck-A-Sang said restaurants had fewer diners, hotels fewer occupants and all noticed less cash flow in their business.

Therefore she charged the state and international donor partners to sustain the development of tourism. “We need to concentrate on working together to improve the product and ensure that it is made more accessible to the Guyanese community as well,” Chuck-A-Sang said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Private Sector Commis-sion Captain Gerald Gouveia lauded THAG and its collaborating agents for the progress they have made since the first publication. Gouveia said Guyana is not being marketed enough as there are many persons who still confuse the country with Ghana. “While, for instance we spend $100,000 on marketing our country others spend hundreds of thousands on marketing,” he said.
Gouveia also noted that following discussions the Ministry of Tourism has agreed to print a complementary magazine to THAG’s Explore Guyana after it had announced plans to print a glossy one similar to the current publication. Executive Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Indranauth Haralsingh said that a complimentary publication is in the works.

Explore Guyana 2009 also features a number of photos depicting the familiar images of the heart of Georgetown as well as breathtaking snapshots of Kaieteur Falls. Images of the interior, the majority of which were obtained from Iwokrama, beckon the reader. So do shots of the Fort Nassau ruins, expansive scenes of the savannahs and refreshing earthy sections of the many rivers and natural interior water sources. Together, they compel the reader to experience the wonder of the Amazon Adventure, and as THAG former president Cathy Hughes says in her piece `A journey to Mt. Roraima – Find Your Soul’ “How could we have been given such a vast paradise, how could so few of us enjoy it…”

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