President Donald Ramotar has given assurances to Region Nine residents that they will reap all the benefits from a five-year Hinterland Tourism Development Plan that will focus on marketing Amerindian villages as adventure destinations in sport fishing and birding publications.
The development plan, which was initiated this year and announced in the National Budget 2013, is also expected to accrue economic, social and environmental benefits, culture and heritage preservation and investment opportunities and training, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. Hospitality training is also on the agenda.
At a meeting held in the North West District in Region One and in Region Nine over the weekend, to distribute keys to new homes via the second Hinterland Low Income Scheme, the president said “More and more people are interested in the tourism product that we have…more and more as people develop they want to feel a oneness with nature, and that [is] why nature is become a huge factor…you (villagers) can benefit in a big way,” he said.
Some communities, like Rewa, for example, whose villagers own and manage the Rewa Eco-Lodge, are a model of the type of community-based tourism project that offers tourists an amazing experience with nature. The Rewa Eco-Lodge offers hiking, fishing expeditions, canoeing, birding and treks among other exciting activities. The Lodge was featured in a 2009 British Broadcasting Corporation documentary, GINA said.
Ramotar assured villagers that they will benefit from all the proceeds of the tourism product unlike at other destinations where a significant quantity of the tourist dollar goes to the offshore investor.
“Here we can produce the food, and here we are working with the community to establish the facilities like what is happening now in Rewa…I understand that they are booked up until the end of this year and most of the money that comes to Rewa stays in Rewa,” he said.