Tourists say Guyana 'really beautiful', some heading to Kaieteur Falls By Heppilena Ferguson
Stabroek News
April 5, 2007

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The tourists are here, though not in the numbers projected, but cricket is not the only thing on their minds. While some are following their favourite teams and some are here because of their jobs, others are amazed at the country's tourism potential and are determined to see more. The words 'Kaieteur Falls' are on the lips of most first-time visitors while some have said they won't leave until they see the falls they have read so much about.

An Irish couple here in Guyana for the first time, Maurice and Catherine Goodman, was impressed with Guyana. But coming to Guyana was not in the couple's mind until the Irish cricket team began to make a name for itself. The couple said they had no prior knowledge of Guyana and they are most impressed with the forest and the plant life. The Goodmans are staying at Buddy's International Hotel and they say that they have never gone to any country where the people were so friendly and hospitable. "It started on our flight in, and at the airport; the atmosphere was great and even at the games the people were very friendly and so we really like it here," Catherine, a management coach and consultant told Stabroek News (SN) on Saturday, poolside at Buddy's. She said the hotel was still a work in progress, but she admired the staff's willingness and the treatment afforded her.

The Goodmans love cricket and do not plan to miss any of the matches but they are also very excited about their visit to Kaieteur. "We've read so much about those falls and we're hoping that our trip there is confirmed because we have got to see those wonderful falls," they said. The couple said too that Guyana reminded them of Kenya, while the clouds were exactly like those in Ireland but with much warmer temperatures.

Lawrence Boyd, a producer employed at Sony, is also here for the first time and he too is most impressed with the Guyanese hospitality. Boyd said he is "pleasantly surprised with what I have seen because I have read all those reports in several sections of the foreign media and so I was coming prepared to deal with the challenges but so far I have encountered none, not even at the hotel."

Another couple, the Ahmeds from Oxford, England, are here, with their two children, for the first time. The couple said they were looking forward to enjoying Sunday's match. And they too lauded the Guyanese hospitality. The Ahmeds, who are staying at Buddy's, said they were impressed with the quality of service and facilities. Like the other tourists this couple is also excited about their planned trip to Kaieteur Falls. "We can't come to Guyana and not get to see the beautiful waterfalls and so we are going there and we want to enjoy the game," Saima Ahmed said.

The Ahmeds said before this trip, they too had not heard much about Guyana, but said they were made to believe that the country was not ready for tourism. "It's much different than I thought and the country is really beautiful and so I am looking forward to my trips into other parts of the city and my children too are having a wonderful time here," she added. Amir Ahmed said he was mostly impressed with the stadium. "It is really wonderful and the facilities there are strong but I'd really like to see it full," he said. The man said the games had not received as much support as he anticipated and urged Guyanese to come out and fill the stands.

Meanwhile, it seems as though Buddy's hotel has sorted out some of the problems some of the guests encountered and things seem to be running smoothly. When SN caught up with General Manager Lalit Da Silva, he gave assurances that problems had been rectified and things were going well as it caters for its approximately 450 guests. He admitted that with anything that was new there would be teething problems and the hotel's plumbing problems have been sorted out. He also said the staff were willing and anxious to learn and so any difficulties were ironed out. Da Silva said the hotel had already received an overwhelming response from its guests who all said they were satisfied with the quality of service. He said Buddy's was even forced to turn away some persons who came to book rooms because all its rooms were already occupied. When SN queried when the hotel expected to have its casino up and running, Da Silva said he could not say when but was sure that it was "definitely in the works".