Three `Guianas' to be promoted as joint tourist destination
-local operator, Surinamese initiate venture

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
April 9, 1999

Local tour operator, Shell Beach Adventures and a Surinamese tour counterpart have initiated a joint venture to promote the three `Guianas', Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, as a tourist destination.

The joint effort represents the first major venture of its kind in the country which is promoting its fledgling tourist industry.

Annette Arjoon of Shell Beach Adventures and Wilfred Baldew of Le Grand Baldew in Suriname, yesterday made the announcement at a press briefing held at the Main Street Plaza Hotel. The operators will announce when the inaugural trip is to be made.

The tour will take the form of overland tours via a fleet of luxury buses owned by Le Grand Baldew. Le Grand Baldew is Suriname's largest operator of luxury and semi-luxury buses. It is proposed that it will be done over a weekend beginning on Thursday. Crossings will be done via the Guyana/Suriname ferry and the Suriname/French Guiana ferry service.

Arjoon noted that Guyana has to offer 4 x 4 overland safaris, the Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls, Rupununi ranches, horse back riding, nature resorts, bird watching, cultural tours, fishing and golf among other individual choices.

She said that visits from Dutch, French, German and American clients to French Guiana and Suriname will also include a visit to Guyana.

Baldew said that it is a challenge to be part of the Guyana market. The link with French Guiana was established years ago but since last August he has been planning for the Guyana joint venture. He noted that Surinamese visitors have also indicated an interest in seeing the floating Demerara Harbour Bridge.

He gave an idea of what is available in Suriname and in French Guiana. In French Guiana there is the space museum in Kourou where depending on the weather, one could witness the launching of the Ariane satellite, the Isles de Salut which includes Royal Island, Joseph Island and Devil's Island. City tours in Paramaribo in Suriname and Cayenne in French Guiana are also part of the package. Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry, Michael Shree Chan, in a statement read by Special Projects Officer in the Tourism Ministry, Margot Boyce, described the initiative as a welcome advance, which represents the initiating of joint efforts between "Surinamese and Guyanese entrepreneurs with an unprecedented intensity."

Chan, who is in Suriname attending the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's (CTO) annual conference on sustainable tourism said in the statement that with the introduction of the ferry service, Guyana and Suriname both stand to benefit from the framework that currently exists and in which inordinate possibilities abound.

Congratulating the two entrepreneurs, Chan said government is most privileged to play the role of facilitator. The returns of such ventures, he said, can only be positive and are destined to improve the living standards of the country, vis a vis employment opportunities, cultural interaction, an enhanced environment and the marketing of Guyana as a premier destination.

In brief remarks, Executive Director of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Collete McDermott, said that it was the country's first major attempt at a joint venture partnership and it is expected to do well. McDermott noted that the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) was the first to point out the possible marketing of the three Guianas with their vast potential.

She said that while there are many similarities in the three countries, they also have a lot of differences. Similarities may lie in flora and fauna of the countries with Guyana having greater bio-diversity. A major difference lies in the national languages of the three, - the languages being English, Dutch and French.

She noted, too, that in recent years at international trade fairs the three Guianas have been marketing their products in one basically.

Commenting on the advantages of the overland tours, she said, tourists coming from Europe and other destinations like to know that they can visit several countries during one holiday. In addition the mode of travel is cheaper.