CWC bed and breakfast providers will have to do own marketing
By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
March 15, 2007

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Eligible Bed and Breakfast (B&B) providers are well advised to market themselves instead of waiting on the Bed and Breakfast Secretariat to provide them with guests for the upcoming Super Eight matches to be held here from March 28.

Asked about concerns expressed by some homeowners who have put up their homes for the programme, Chief Executive Officer of the ICC CWC Local Organising Committee (LOC) Karan Singh said the B&B Secret-ariat, operating out of the LOC office on Middle Street, South Cummingsburg, "is only a facilitating body."

Singh said the secretariat was helping to identify accommodation for visitors who would be coming to Guyana to see the cricket matches that would be held at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara.

He said B&B providers would have to help in advertising their product noting that "there are still a lot of hotels that haven't been booked."

He said he has had feedback from people wanting to come to Guyana who reported that according to word circulating abroad, hotels have been completely booked and accommodation is not available locally, which is totally untrue.

Hotels with adequate accommodation, he said, have not been advertising themselves. While the LOC has been liaising and assisting in ensuring that accommodation was up to standard, the hoteliers have a responsibility to themselves to advertise their product, he said.

However, Singh said, the B&B Secretariat would be setting up a desk at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri from "day one" to cater for those persons who may require this type of accommodation on arrival in the country.

Referring to the B&B website, Singh said it could be accessed via the Guyana Tourism Authority website, which is also linked to ICC CWC 2007 website

The two traditional international hotels Le Meridien Pegasus and Cara Lodge would be joining the newly built Buddy's International Hotel in providing accommodation for the teams, officials, media and sponsors (TOMS).

Homeowners have provided some 2,000 rooms for the B&B programme but no one at the B&B Secretariat could say how many of these rooms have been booked. Stabroek News contacted, at random, five persons who have registered rooms on the programme and are listed on the website.

One female provider hoping to take advantage of the cricket season and make a contribution to the accommodation drive said that apart from training seminars, she has had no feedback from the B&B Secretariat. She has three rooms on offer.

However, someone from the Guyana Water Incorpo-rated (GWI) appeared at her home telling her that since she would be a provider on the B&B programme she would have to pay increased "World Cup rates" for the period during which the Super Eight matches would be held in Guyana. She said she does not depend too much on GWI because she has overhead tanks and a vat in her yard, which also gathers rain water. She buys water for drinking purposes.

Several days later, she said, an insurance agent appeared at her home selling insurance to make provision for her guests in the event of accidents. She said she could not buy insurance when she was not even sure that she would get any guests.

The potential provider said "these weren't additional expenses I envisaged." She said she had already gone into her pocket to repair parts of her home and repaint the house in addition to sprucing up in general. Believing herself to be a hospitable person, she said she was looking forward to hosting some visitors and giving them a real Guyanese home experience with her teenaged children.

Another would-be provider said she took a bank loan to buy a new living room suite and looked forward to having guests for the season. Not keen on "renting out" the rooms because of previous "bad experiences" she said she would have to repay the loan from her salary if she got no guests. She had planned on paying back the loan from whatever she would have earned through the B&B programme.

A third prospective provider said the B&B organisers should have been more "organized and open" and should have told persons what to expect. He said when representatives from the B&B Secretariat visited they said he needed to do no more to his house but to await the visitors. "So if it turns out that I get no guests, it would not be a financial loss for me because I made no financial investment. But I could consider that it was a financial opportunity missed."

Some others said they heeded the government's call to assist in providing accommodation, borrowed money and invested in renovation. Looking at things on a positive note, one said "at least I have put a higher value on my property even if the bed and breakfast expectations don't materialize."

Another said that in the future, he could seek his own houseguests.

With just 13 days to go, he said it was "difficult to rationalize the B&B Secretariat's continued silence. Is there a bombshell disclosure that they intend to drop on people sooner or later? Are there persons who have already been officially notified?"

Stabroek News understands that a few persons have booked a number of rooms on the B&B programme but could not ascertain how many.