Guyana’s mid-year report for 2023 has unveiled remarkable growth in the country’s tourism sector, underpinned by rising visitor numbers and strategic infrastructure improvements.
During the first six months of this year, Guyana extended a warm welcome to 149,020 visitors, marking a significant surge of 16.2 percent compared to the same period last year. The months of March and April recorded the highest influx, attributed to increased business travel and the return of Guyanese nationals for the Easter holidays.
Notably, the United States and the Caribbean played pivotal roles, constituting 47 percent and 26 percent of the total arrivals, respectively. The prospect of surpassing the previous record of 314,727 visitors from 2019 seems promising, with upcoming events such as the Cricket Carnival, International Building Expo, Agri Expo, and GuyExpo scheduled for the latter half of the year.
It was also noted that improved accessibility has played a crucial role in facilitating this surge, with new flight routes to Barbados, Cuba, Jamaica, and Suriname that were initiated by Fly Allways in February, followed by British Airways’ twice-weekly operations from the United Kingdom and Europe in March.
The report also stated that the private sector is making commendable strides in expanding accommodation capacity to cater to the growing tourist numbers. The Courtyard by Marriott at Timehri and Aiden by Best Western are on track for completion in January 2024, with the Four Points Sheraton at Houston expected to follow in the third quarter of 2024. It further noted that the AC Marriott at Ogle is also progressing well and is set to add 150 rooms and around 400 jobs upon its completion in July 2024.
Furthermore, the report was also keen to note that Guyana is focusing on regulatory improvements, with clinics and online licensing portals aiding in the compliance of tourism businesses. Over 800 individuals in the hospitality sector have received training in various areas, fostering skills development in the industry.
Safety also remains a top priority, with plans to expand safety management programs and develop niche product safety guidelines for various activities. The government is also working on global accreditation through the ‘Good Travel Seal’ program under the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, according to the report.