GEORGETOWN, Guyana January 31, 2019 (CMC) – The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) says the country continues to grow as a destination of choice for travelers, recording the highest visitor arrivals to date.
Yesterday, the GTA said, as of December 31, 2018, Guyana recorded a total number of visitor arrivals of 286,732 passengers – a 15.93 percent increase from the 247,330 visitors the country welcomed in 2017.
Over the past years, the GTA said it has worked on raising the profile of “Destination Guyana”, through increased product development, awareness raising activities and niche marketing.
The GTA said this includes attendance at trade shows, such as the American Birding Expo, ITB and World Travel Market.
“The year 2018 saw big changes in GTA’s marketing efforts,” the statement said. “A new destination website and social media strategy were launched; market representation was secured in the core source markets of the US, Canada, UK (United Kingdom) and Germany; and Guyana Tourism Authority hosted several trade, media and influencer FAM trips – all with the aim of increasing awareness of Guyana and driving demand among travelers, seeking out authentic, nature, adventure and cultural experiences.”
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) a visitor is a traveler taking a trip to a main destination, outside his/her usual environment, for an overnight stay, up to less than a year, for any main purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be employed by a resident entity in the country or place visited.
While the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation in Guyana reported an internal passenger arrival number of 325,800 individuals, the GTA said the figure it captured is that of visitor specific arrivals, in keeping with the UNWTO definition.
For the first time, the GTA said Guyana has seen a significant increase in some of its core source markets, such as the United States, Europe and other Caribbean nations.
“Travelers come to Guyana to enjoy its pristine rainforest and the golden savannahs of the Rupununi; its unique indigenous community-owned eco-lodges and its nature resorts on the Essequibo and Demerara Rivers; Guyanese events such as the Bartica Regatta and Guyana Carnival; and the most popular attraction of them all, the majestic Kaieteur Falls,” the GTA said.
It said Kaieteur National Park recorded a total of 8,195 visitors to the tourist attraction in 2018, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.
The GTA noted that Guyana also hosted the OAS CITUR Conference in March 2018 and the ICAO Air Transport Meeting in November 2018, “which saw scores of international officials, all of whom experienced Guyana’s tourism product”.
Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, who has responsibility for tourism, hailed the increased visitor arrivals as an opportunity for more communities, individuals and businesses to invest around the tourism product.
“Word of Guyana’s unique tourism offerings is reaching more people around the world, and Destination Guyana continues to gain significance,” he said, adding that the government “will continue to provide the necessary support and incentives as an impetus to the sector”.
“The Department of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority will continue to work with stakeholders, in keeping with the Living Guyana Tourism Strategic Action Plan 2018-2025,” Gaskin added.
Brian T. Mullis, director of the Guyana Tourism Authority said “this is a great achievement for Guyana”.
“We are beginning to attract an increasing number of travelers seeking our authentic nature, culture and adventure experiences within our core markets,” he said. “Increased visitation means increased income into Guyana that provides benefits across sectors”.
“Tourism is the third largest export market in Guyana,” Mullis noted. “Looking forward, we aim to increase the volume of visitors and the value they each represent to further amplify the positive impacts from tourism.”
With a more targeted marketing approach, ongoing development of the tourism product and increased airlift (LIAT Airlines added a new route in July 2018, and American Airlines recently started serving the destination in November 2018), Mullis said “Guyana is expected to see growth in its visitor arrivals and the improvement of the overall visitor experience in the coming years.”