Business 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.
ARLINGTON, Texas — No more maybe for the Dallas Cowboys. They are finally eliminated from the playoff chase.Maybe no more Matt Cassel, either.Kellen Moore replaced an ineffective Cassel and threw a touchdown pass to Dez Bryant in his first game action in four seasons as a pro, but the Cowboys lost 19-16 to the New York Jets on Dec. 19 after Randy Bullock kicked a 40-yard field goal with 36 seconds remaining.Dallas (4-10) is done in a division that doesn’t have a winning team, a year after winning 12 regular-season games and the NFC East title.“We’ve got a long time left here this month and of course a long January. You want to be a part of this thing at this particular time. It’s very disappointing,” owner Jerry Jones said. “This is nothing like I could have envisioned. Our plan sitting here was we’d really have it together at this time.”Washington, Philadelphia and the New York Giants are all 6-7 going into home games Dec. 20. The Redskins and Eagles each have two division games left, including head-to-head in Philadelphia on Dec. 26, so at least one of them is assured of avoiding 10 losses.Bullock missed a 45-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but kicked the winner eight plays after Dan Bailey’s tying 50-yard field goal, which hit the right upright and barely ricocheted through and over the crossbar with 1:55 left.Ryan Fitzpatrick and the AFC wild card-contenting Jets (9-5) have their first four-game winning streak since 2010.Cassel once won 10 games filling in for Tom Brady in New England. But he has won only one of his seven starts for the Cowboys, the latest with two bumbling plays and not playing past the first series of the second quarter against New York.After faking a throw and stumbling when he tried to change directions, Cassel threw blindly to a spot where Darrelle Revis was by himself for an easy interception.Cassel came out the series after taking a 19-yard sack, which wasn’t long after he left the field to loud boos following a three-and-out. He finished 3 of 8 for 37 yards with the pick.“Didn’t seem like we were able to get in a rhythm,” coach Jason Garrett said. “At that time wanted to give Kellen a chance to see if he could jump start the offense.”Moore went 15-of-25 for 158 yards with the 10-yard touchdown to Bryant to put the Cowboys up 10-9 at halftime. The lefty also had three interceptions — ending his first series, another picked off in the end zone midway through the third quarter after driving to the Jets 6, and then a desperate deep heave in the closing seconds.Garrett said he wasn’t ready to talk about whether Moore or Cassel would start next week at Buffalo.“It was not an easy situation just because I’ve been here to support Matt in any way and help him,” Moore said. “I felt good. I felt like communication was pretty good. … We’ll see what happens. Obviously, I took this opportunity for what it was. We’ll grow from it and learn from it and see what happens.”Tony Romo started only four games this season, the first two games in September before breaking his collarbone, and then two games after his return before suffering the same injury.Brandon Weeden lost his only three starts before being replaced by midseason acquisition Cassel. Moore, the former Boise State quarterback, was moved from practice squad to active roster after Romo got hurt again Thanksgiving Day against Carolina.(STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares