The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the non-governmental organisation, Visit Rupununi, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to strengthen linkages between Region Nine (Upper Essequibo/Upper Takutu) and the national and international communities to market the Rupununi’s tourism products.
“For though Visit Rupununi may be best placed to represent regional tourism issues at the local level, priorities at the national level are best addressed through collaboration with our national actors like the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) and the Guyana Tourism Authority,” said Visit Rupununi’s President Melanie McTurk.
McTurk signed the MoU on behalf of Visit Rupununi while Brian Mullis signed for the GTA. The signing took place yesterday at the GTA’s head office at the Sophia Exhibition Site, Georgetown, at the end of a three-week training programme for five facilitators in the tourism sector. Both activities marked the end of Tourism Awareness Month, which was observed in November.
The MoU, McTurk said, “represents what we would prefer to think as the next natural step in what has been an excellent working relationship over the past three years and the maturation and deepening of that relationship now around specific objectives focused on strengthening Destination Guyana.”
Following the signing of the MoU, the Visit Rupununi team launched its calendar of events for 2019 in a bid to promote its activities and to encourage local and international adventure and cultural tourists to visit.
According to the calendar, the signature months to visit are in February, around the Mashramani period, when there will be a cattle round up at Dadanawa Ranch and the launch of the Music and Arts Festival; in April for the North Pakaraima Mountain Safari and Rupununi Ranchers Rodeo; in May for the Yupukari Turtle Festival; September for Indigenous Heritage Month activities; October for Karanambu Bird Festival; November for Rupununi Expo; and in December for the Rupununi Christmas fair and many other activities.
According to McTurk, Visit Rupununi is Guyana’s first regional destination management organisation which markets the services of its members, provides support through training and capacity building and represents it stakeholders’ interests at local, regional and international levels.
She encouraged the formation of similar bodies at the regional levels.
Speaking about the facilitation training programme, which was made possible by the GTA and which was conducted by the international NGO Swisscontact, a business-oriented independent foundation for international development cooperation, GTA Senior Officer of Product Development and Certification Kamrul Baksh said the programme was intended to align the product development to customers’ needs. The focus of the training was on demand-based, living destination development and management mapping and action plan, which those involved in the training are currently undertaking.