The Tourism Sector continues to wane as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc around the globe. President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali says that his government will continue to implement policies and programmes designed to revitalise and bolster the tourism sector, which is one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his message to mark World Tourism Day 2020 yesterday, the President noted that the sector has taken a loss of an estimated 46% over the last six months when compared to the same period last year.
It has also seen an estimated 30% employed in the tourism sector lose their jobs, and an additional 36% have been furloughed or placed on unpaid leave.
Nevertheless, the President noted that the Government is committed to supporting all stakeholders through this very critical recovery process.
“We will also implement policies to strengthen and grow the workforce in the Tourism sector to cater to the influx of visitors expected as a result of the focused marketing as well as the emergence of the oil and gas sector. This will also help to create more opportunities, which will lead to the economic empowerment of men, women and youth in rural communities,” the Head of State said.
Additionally, the government, in keeping with its Manifesto promise, included a series of measures in Emergency Budget 2020 to bolster the sector. They include the reversal of value-added tax on hinterland travel and special incentives for new hotels and businesses.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond in her Tourism Day statement efforts are being made not only to bring relief to the sector but also to “craft the kinds of strategies that will accelerate tourism recovery and create the new reset needed in the sector.”
The Ministry is also collaborating with the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana and the Guyana Tourism Authority on other measures that will not only grow the tourism workforce, but make leisure visits attractive to travellers and explorers again. Tourism of the future cannot and will not be business as usual.
“The post-COVID traveller will be a person with the highest expectations of enjoying safety in a destination that will provide experiences that are unique, enriching, and original. Guyana must be ready to provide that quality and level of safety. Work is already in train by the various local tourism agencies to prepare the industry for this new role,” Minister Walrond said. (Extracted and modified from the Department of Public Information)