Eco-tourism can stimulate the economy

Stabroek News
August 22, 2001

Dear Editor,

I read your editorial entitled 'Stimulating Measures' (2l.8.200l) and want to commend you on your efforts at fostering awareness of the multiplier effect of eco-tourism on Guyana's economy.

On my recent visit to Guyana from July 25 to August 14, 2001, I purchased a five-day package from Lake Mainstay Resort. The price was affordable and the quality of service was excellent. The employees were courteous, friendly and professional. The meals were nutritious as well as delicious. The accommodation was ideal, safe and comfortable. There were a variety of activities including camp fires, boating, hikes, games and other recreation or relaxation activities. My stay at Lake Mainstay Resort was a first for me at one of Guyana's resorts, and the positive memories of my visit there will be longlasting. I am also aware that Lake Mainstay, like the other Resorts are facing the impact of the drop in overseas visitors to Guyana this summer. I heard that one of the Resorts in Guyana had over 300 canceled reservations this summer because of people postponing their travel plans to Guyana. The main concerns being the high return airfare from Canada/New York to Guyana as well as the perception that the post-election climate across the country is negative. That is a situation which negatively impacts the economy as the multiplier effect in terms of money and jobs that such a large quantity of visitors provide did not materialize. I am sure that this scenario is recounted at other Resorts and venues across Guyana.

Yet, Guyana is a pleasantly interesting and busy place to visit.

During my stay in Guyana, I attended a UNDP sponsored presentation on 'E-commerce and Development'. I visited the Mining Exhibition at Umana Yana. I attended the Emancipation Day and the 'Etauchingpang' celebrations at the National Park. I went to the Police Training School at Adventure on the Corentyne and had the opportunity to observe 23 new police recruits going through their drill routines. I spent time browsing through the archival displays at the Cheddi Jagan Research Center. I went to the Stabroek, Port Mourant, Anna Regina and New Amsterdam markets. I visited and spent quality time with relatives and friends across Guyana. I socialized with Guyanese youth at a variety of venues in the three counties and listened to their hopes, dreams and frustrations. Most of the youth, I conversed with expressed motivation and the quest for opportunity to prove themselves.

I felt reassured during my visit that Guyana is a still a safe and hospitable place to visit. Rather than turn our backs on the nation, let us give Guyana a chance to grow and prosper.

I hope that your efforts at raising awareness of Guyana's promise and potential with eco-tourism among other ventures will produce positive results.

Yours faithfully,

Gary Pieters, B.A. [Hons], B.Ed.