New tourism executive aiming to form more partnerships
March 31, 2000
The Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) plans to focus on increasing its membership, involving stakeholders in the development of the tourism industry, and forming partnerships with government and other interest groups to move the industry forward.
In the first press conference hosted by THAG's newly-elected executive, President Gerry Gouveia outlined THAG's 10-point plan to boost the industry at the Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday. The programme also includes collaborating with Amerindian organisations on issues pertinent to the development of the industry, involving the indigenous peoples as stakeholders, collaborating with the local media and the country's overseas missions, preservation of the environment and standards, and education awareness.
Gouveia noted that emphasis will be placed on increasing the association's membership. At present THAG has a membership of 62 tour operators, hoteliers and others directly or indirectly involved in the industry but the objective is to increase the membership to about 1,000. Those directly and indirectly involved are invited to become members.
Pointing out that the industry will positively affect all sectors of the economy, Gouveia said that it is imperative for THAG to fan out and meet with stakeholders in the industry. In this way, THAG would be in a better position to express its concerns and request support while bringing others on board.
THAG has sought meetings with political parties and some have already agreed to meet with the executive. The leaders with whom THAG has made contact, he said, have endorsed the potential of tourism.
Noting that the focus of Guyana's tourism is eco-tourism and that the potential is in the hinterland, Gouveia said that THAG intends to find ways of collaborating with the country's indigenous peoples. He noted the importance of bringing about a settlement to the dispute over the extension of the Kaieteur National Park.
In relation to bringing the media on board, Gouveia noted that public perception is important. He said that the media have the power to make the country look either bad or beautiful. In the same way the media highlight negative aspects, they could also focus on positive happenings as well. As the tourism industry creates employment directly and indirectly, Gouveia said that THAG will be taking its awareness programme into the schools and will continue to work closely with the Tourism Studies Unit of the University of Guyana, among others.
A major focus, he said, would be partnerships with government. THAG, he added, is committed to working with the government every step of the way in the promotion of the industry.
He said that the association is at present encouraged by the efforts of Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry, Geoffrey Da Silva who has a good feel for the workings of the industry.
Upbeat about a take-off in the industry, Gouveia said that "the big thing" this year will be the establishment of the Tourism Authority or board. The authority will be the turning point for the setting of standards and operations as well as the spearheading of a marketing drive.
Gouveia introduced other newly-elected officers of THAG. Vice President Jean Guillaumot is responsible for the association's finances; Mokesh Daby was entrusted with marketing; Richard Ousman will oversee standards and operations and Bernard De Young is tasked with fund-raising.