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By Kiana WilburgMinister of Tourism, Catherine HughesSeveral innovative plans are in the making to not only develop Guyana’s diverse and promising tourism industry but ensure that it becomes a meaningful contributor to the national purse.This was communicated to the media yesterday by Minister of Tourism, Catherine Hughes during a press conference which was held at the Ministry of the Presidency. At the press briefing, she joined the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who delivered updates from government’s cabinet meeting which was held on Tuesday.Prior to taking questions from the media on her portfolio, Hughes provided highlights from her Ministry.She indicated that just recently, her Ministry completed the selection process for six individuals from hotels within Guyana to attend a training programme at a respected hotel in the Caribbean.She noted that two of the six representatives are from the Carnegie School of Home Economics. Hughes said that by August 17, those persons will be on their way to the Crane Hotel in Barbados.“They have a fantastic opportunity to go to the Crane Hotel which is a superior rated lodge in the Caribbean. They have an opportunity to be there for a three-month period to be trained in a very practical way in very important aspects that are related to the hospitality industry in Guyana. This comes under bilateral agreements that have been negotiated with Caricom. The training is actually certified by one of the USA training institutions, and so they will get certification for this component of training.”Hughes asserted that when one talks about building a tourism industry in Guyana, an important aspect is ensuring that persons have the requisite skills so that Guyana can continue to lift its standard.She said that this training programme will go hand in hand with the progress the Ministry is making in terms of designing Guyana’s Hospitality Training School.The Tourism Minister reminded that funds were allocated by the Caribbean Development Bank for this venture and the previous minister had looked at a hospitality training centre in Barbados which would be used as a model for Guyana’s school. She noted that government has also earmarked another good model, which is located in Antigua. She said that at the end of a review process, her ministry will decide on which is the best option to be used as a model.In other highlights, Hughes stated that since her appointment to the post, she has met with some challenges such as finding a home for her ministry. Luckily, she informed the media that she will be moving in shortly at Colgrain House on Camp Street.“We are excited that we have a building that represents what I think our tourism product includes, and that is in terms of heritage tourism, and we couldn’t ask for a better location in Georgetown,” the Minister added.As it relates to the development of small niche markets, Hughes noted that next week, there will be a team going to the bird watching fair in England. The team however has been reduced from its usual size.She said, “As you would know, this is an important niche market that we have been successfully exploiting and we have been able to get more visitors that come for the wonderful array of birds that we have in Guyana.”The Minister of Tourism also noted that she will be off to Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday to speak with a small community in Chaguaramas.Hughes added, “In another few weeks another flotilla of yachts will be coming and docking in the Essequibo River and the opportunity to meet with persons of that industry who are residents of Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of the Caribbean is important…”Bird watching in Guyana“When it comes to yachting, we have a tremendous advantage that we are yet to explore. We have a small niche market, yes,NFL Jerseys China, but given the challenges of climate change, some locations in Trinidad are meeting with extreme weather conditions and Guyana has the potential to be a safe haven for persons who have yachts and are looking to park them in a safe destination.”The Minister of Tourism said that there have already been discussions with two individuals in particular who will be at the meeting on Sunday and have expressed an interest in developing such a condition in the Essequibo River,Cheap Jerseys, so that Guyana can be better able to handle yachts in terms of cleaning, refurbishing, storage and other services that go with maintenance for such boats.Hughes said that this is another avenue that has the potential to create employment, train individuals,Cheap Jerseys From China, and contribute to the economy as a whole.The Minister also expressed that she is pleased that Finance Minister Winston Jordan committed in his 2015 Budget to have an increase in the marketing funds of the Ministry of Tourism.  She said that with the requisite funding, the Ministry can start to implement a real dynamic marketing programme and work towards building the industry.The Finance Minister in his speech on Monday noted that Guyana’s tourism industry is still young in years and maturity. He said that for years, the sector struggled from a poorly-resourced marketing effort – one that has been responsible for sluggish growth in the industry, while the quality of the product offered and the visitor experience still require strengthening in many areas.As a result of this,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, he said that the coalition government intends to at least double the tourism marketing budget over the next five years in an effort to scale up the nation’s presence in targeted fora and media.He said that the most recent marketing review has found that Guyana’s best selling option is to take advantage of its relative anonymity as a tourist destination and, under the Guyana, South America Undiscovered marketing initiative, it is expected that more visitors will originate from target markets than previously.Jordan said that the need for more data to inform the marketing strategies and the resource allocations to the industry will be aided by the adoption of tourism satellite accounting before 2020.  In the immediate future,NFL Jerseys From China, he said, the collection of good source data will be required as a prerequisite, including surveys to gather data on accommodation, visitor spending and supplier profiles. Jordan said that since the private sector has lobbied for the inclusion of tourism in the calculation of gross domestic product, he would expect that they will be equally enthusiastic in providing the data needed.In bridging the coastland-hinterland divide,nfl jerseys authentic china, the Finance Minister said that Government will accelerate efforts to implement the Hinterland Tourism Development Plan and aim to generate vibrant and sustainable livelihoods within communities across our country.He said that the cost of internal travel, as well as the cost of airlift to Guyana, will also be reviewed to improve accessibility among the regions.Altogether, Jordan noted that the sector is expected to generate over 1,500 direct jobs in the next five years and witness a higher rate of increase of visitor arrivals with an expanded menu of tourism products and services.
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