In his address, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Manniram Prashad said that tourism has become one of the fastest growing sectors in Guyana. It “is a source of foreign currency, generates revenue, creates employment, attracts investments and visitors, provides a positive destination image and drives infrastructural and community development; while at the same time allows more people to explore and experience Guyana,” he added.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the sector has shown great resilience and durability during the current economic recession and in order to sustain it certain fundamentals must be set in place. Prashad said that all stakeholders must demonstrate and have the ability to adapt to change and to be responsive to global trends.
“Tourism is about positioning yourself in the international marketplace and about offering an experience that is second to none…we need to benchmark ourselves internationally so that our products and services will be judged according to international expectations,” he explained. He then called on service providers to recognise customers’ importance and strive to boost their services and to be responsive to new demographics, needs and demands.
The minister also gave assurances that “Government is committed to tourism development and is providing a number of initiatives to facilitate tourism growth.” These initiatives include investments in healthcare, Information Communication Technology, education, and boosting infrastructure, he explained, and challenged the industry to seek to modernise, adapt and embrace new technologies; to be service oriented and to partner with government to make Guyana realise its true potential.
Turning to the awardees, Prashad said they are being presented to recognise “excellence in service, quality, business, entrepreneurship, creativity and hospitality; but they should also highlight our status as a promising, alluring and must-visit tourist destination.”
Thirty-one persons were given certificates for their participation in the Pakaraima Mountain Safari – one of the leading adventure trips in Guyana. GINA Editor-in-Chief Shanta Goberdhan was awarded for her extensive promotion of the Safari. This is the third year her efforts to raise awareness about the event has been recognised. According to GINA, Safari is a collaborative effort among the Tourism Ministry, the Guyana Tourism Authority, Local Government Ministry, Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL/CASTROL), Rainforest Tours, Air Services Limited, Geddes Grant, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company, Mekdeci, Neal and Massy and the Administrations of Regions Eight and Nine.
Awards were also presented to the top 10 persons in 10 categories for their excellence in tourism development in Guyana. The awardees are Tourism Pioneers- Dwayne and Sandy De Freitas of Rupununi Trails, for Community-based Tourism- Rewa Village, Region Nine; Long-standing Service Provider- Ruth and Peter Rajmangal from No.58 Rest Stop; Tourism Entrepreneur- Wilfred Jagnarine from Lake Mainstay, Region Two; Improved Access to Regional Markets- REDJET Airlines; Tour Guiding- Ashley Holland (Tour Guide of the Year); Pillar of the Tourism Industry- Eon Craddock, a former British Army Officer; Best Home-style Stay- Herdmanston Lodge; Support for Cruise Tourism- Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC) and Service for Travel and Tourism- the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
This award ceremony is part of the Ministry’s calendar of activities to commemorate Tourism Awareness Month, which is being observed under the theme, “Achieving service excellence through training.”