Enhancing the tourism sector was the key focus of an Inter-Ministerial collaboration Session held recently at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC). The meeting was held under the theme, ‘Cross Cutting Collaboration for Development.
Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin explained that his ministry relies on the collaboration of other ministries and agencies for the successful outcome of initiatives undertaken. He noted that while the tourism ministry spends much time and resources to strategically promote Guyana, it is not in a position to control first impressions by visitors.
“When people come to Guyana, the first thing they see is the airport, immigration officers and that process, as well as customs officers and their processes. We, who are responsible for promoting Guyana’s tourism, have no control over those issues,” Minister Gaskin said.
He stressed that the Ministry of Business is keen on enhancing the visitor’s experience. He, therefore, encouraged collaboration at all levels with ministries and agencies that can positively impact this process.
“We are not trying to change the priorities of individual ministries. We are just looking at ways to collaborate towards a bigger picture than the ones only relevant to our specific ministries. We must continue to improve on our tourism product, if we are going to remain competitive,” Minister Gaskin remarked.
Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Brian Mullis stated that tourism, when managed properly, can boost the national economy. He cautioned however that those benefits do come with challenges, which includes the cost and difficulties in getting to Guyana and around the country. Mullis expressed optimism that the inter-ministerial cooperation will offer solutions to those challenges.
Representatives of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ministry of Communities, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the Ministry of the Presidency outlined a number of projects their respective ministries are working on to enhance the local tourism sector.