New Eco-Tourism Action Plan and Strategy Being Developed for Guyana

Mar 12, 2015

Ms. Chisa Mikami, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Delivering Remarks at the workshop and Mr. Indranauth Haralsingh, Director - Guyana Tourism Authority seated at the head table.

The preliminary findings of a study to develop an Eco-tourism Action Plan and Strategy for Guyana were presented at a workshop which forms part of a process to create a compendium of best practices for the Eco-Tourism Sector in Guyana.

The workshop, held on 12 March, 2015 at the Guyana International Conference Center is one of the activities agreed to in Output one of the Enhancing the Economic Livelihood of the Poor Project in Guyana that is funded by the Chilean Government fund for Hunger and Poverty. The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Delivering remarks at the opening of the workshop, Ms. Chisa Mikami, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative explained that “in 2013, UNDP received a grant from the Chile Government in the amount of US$200.000 for the purpose of implementing the project.”

She explained that the project is intended to create South-South Cooperation between Chile and Guyana and has three main outputs. The first is to supporting Guyana, through South-South policy dialogue, on policy options for reducing poverty. This output is intended to strengthen Guyana’s ecotourism sector, using lessons learnt from other countries and recommending different strategies to enhance the ecotourism endeavor in this country, the second output is intended to support cottage and linkage industries in selected rural communities. This output specifically seeks to build the capacity of rural poor enterprises. The third and final output is intended to identify and enhance alternative coping strategies for the poor.

She pointed out that Tourism is thus an important factor in the economy of many countries and in the management of many cultural sites and natural areas. Being a people-oriented industry, tourism also provides many jobs which have helped revitalize local economies. Yet by its very nature tourism is ambivalent, generating well-known problems as well as well-known benefits.     

Ms. Mikami further stated that as a service industry, tourism has numerous tangible and intangible elements. Major tangible elements include transportation, accommodation, and other components of the hospitality industry. Major intangible elements relate to the purpose or motivation for becoming a tourist, such as rest, relaxation, the opportunity to meet new people and experience other cultures, or simply to do something different and have an adventure.

Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr. Indranauth Haralsingh also delivered remarks at the workshop. He told participants that the GTA welcomes valuable feedback, input and guidance to shape and develop the final form of an eco-tourism action plan and strategy for Guyana.

Mr. Haralsingh further explained that the Government of Guyana and the UNDP reached an agreement on a Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) for the period 2012-2016. One of the CPAP outcomes is to strengthen institutional and regulatory capacities of government and civil society organizations to enable access to sustainable financial and business development services for the economic poor, women and indigenous communities.

He said “in this regard, the UNDP and the Ministry of Tourism, industry and Commerce signed an Annual Work Plan (AWP) for the project titled “Enhancing the economic livelihood of the poor.”

The GTA Director posited that eco-tourism is identified as one of the main driver and tool for achieving sustainable development and for protecting and promoting conservation and indigenous culture and heritage. He added that “it provides employment and empowerment for vulnerable groups such as the indigenous, women and youth and sustains livelihood while diversifying communities and the local village economies.”

He continued by explaining that while feedback from tourists, tour operators, industry stakeholders and the communities remain very positive, there are still gaps, short comings and challenges for the sector which if addressed would help to improve the eco-tourism experience of visitors, improve Guyana’s visibility in the global market place and make Guyana a more competitive destination.

Mr. Haralsingh said that it is against this backdrop that, a contract and consultancy was awarded to develop a South-South ecotourism compendium for Guyana that should include recommendations for:

  1. Investment strategies to attract new investors
  2. Investment and fiscal incentives regime
  3. Product development and pricing recommendations
  4. Institutional and infrastructural investments to encourage eco-tourism development
  5. An eco-tourism marketing strategy with a budget and timeline
  6. Human resource development and capacity building eco-tourism module and courses
  7. A national communication strategy to create awareness of ecotourism
  8. Suggested collaboration and exchanges with international eco-tourism training  institutions and programmes

 The consultant will develop an eco-Tourism Action Plan and Strategy for Guyana by June of 2015.

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