More training needed to reel in tourists to Guyana – Gaskin

first_imgBusiness Minister Dominic Gaskin, who is tasked with responsibility for tourism, has admitted that there was a grave need for more training in the hospitality sector in order to bring more tourists to the country.Gaskin told Guyana Times during a recent interview that although efforts were being made to increase the number of airlines serving the country, persons who make direct contact with visitors should be properly trained.The Minister made specific reference to hotel receptionists as well as minibus and taxi drivers.Business Minister Dominic Gaskin“We need more airlifts, but that is being attended to and we are getting people coming. Our visitor arrival is increasing, but I think what we need though is a lot more training in some of the hospitality sectors as well as the transportation sector so that the visitor experience is one that they would want to recommend,” he said.Gaskin added, “I think a lot of work has to be done in the services sector whether it is restaurant, hotels, minibus, taxis, even retail, because we want to give them an experience that reflects our seriousness about tourism and if you don’t have good service, you not gonna get return visitors”.According to him, the Ministry has been conducting training for some hotel personnel while the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) is working on a new programme which will ensure more persons are trained in this regard.“I think what we are focusing on now is … a particular training programme that involves certification and we are trying to get the GTA trainers trained so that they can actually do the training themselves and certification,” he noted.Moreover, Gaskin explained that the new programme would allow the Ministry to train and certify persons to an internationally recognised standard.The Minister was keen to note that although he hoped for this programme to be operational before year end, it does not mean that other training sessions would discontinue.Guyana was recently named the number one “Best of Ecotourism” destination in the world. The award was presented to Guyana at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) global travel trade fair in Berlin, Germany – the world’s largest tourism trade fair.The second annual “Best of Top 100” Awards is a selection of the finest top 100 destinations selected by a panel of experts, who reviewed sustainability success stories submitted by destinations worldwide.The newly-created “Best of Ecotourism” category was added in 2019 and puts Guyana up against very well-known and long-established ecotourism destinations, such as Sierra Gorda in Mexico, Tmatboey in Cambodia, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.Back in December last year during budgetary debates, Gaskin boasted of a 17 per cent increase in visitor arrivals up to September, when compared with figures for the same period last year.The Minister pointed out that apart from the two major agricultural products which are rice and sugar, tourism brings in the highest amount of foreign earnings while also providing opportunities for young Guyanese.Recognising the importance of the sector, Gaskin said the Ministry increased the budget allocation to the GTA from $123 million in 2014 to over $300 million in 2019.He explained that the GTA and the Department of Tourism would receive budgetary allocations of $305 million and $93 million respectively.last_img

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