Guyana’s emerging oil producer status has resulted in an influx of tourists and it is essential that the town of Linden, with its many attractions, takes advantage of this, says Finance Minister Winston Jordan. The economist made these and other comments during the recently held Linden Business Summit.
There, Jordan noted that tourism is a sector scintillating with potential. He opined that it is the one sector that, perhaps, has the greatest potential for growth and to make Linden a destination town. Jordan said that the Government recognises the importance of tourism in the development process and has been putting the necessary infrastructure and policies in place to promote the development of the tourism sector in Guyana.
The Finance Minister stated, “And we have begun to be rewarded for our efforts; as you are aware, Guyana was only recently recognised as the best of eco-tourism destinations in the world.” In this regard, the minister said that Linden is strategically located and endowed with tourism products to provide services at the international standards.
He asserted, “The massive oil discovery has given Guyana prominence on the world map. The influx of tourist will continue to increase, so take advantage of this market niche that you have. You have the recently-renovated Watooka Guest House which was once classified as the most prestigious of its kind in the then British Guiana.”
Jordan said that there must be some truth to this description when one considers the dignitaries who have stayed at this facility. The Finance Minister articulated that this is the facility where many members of the royal family stayed, including Queen Elizabeth II.
“This tells me that there was much class and elegance attached to this facility. And so, I urge the current managers of the renovated Watooka Guest House to return it to the same class and level of service that is offered to your customers,” the minister said.
In addition, Jordan said that tourists crave extraordinary scenes like the Gluck Island, where the blossoming of Guyana’s national flower and unusual species of caiman and otters can be viewed. He said that the success of the Annual Rockstone Fish Festival that attracts large numbers of tourists is another indication of Linden’s tourism potential.
He emphasised, however, that while Linden has great tourism potential, tourism cannot operate on its own. The Finance Minister said that there needs to be the creation of linkages with other types of businesses to expand and develop all sectors and increase economic gain.
Jordan said that tourists need good accommodation, they need food prepared to a certain standard, and they need entertainment. He said that these should be some of the areas of focus in Linden’s short to medium-term business plans.