It has been eight (8) months and counting since the Tourism & Hospitality Industry of Guyana has been closed due to the pandemic, without any revenue-generating opportunities, with facilities closed, staff furloughed or laid off. THAG is disappointed that the Tourism & Hospitality Industry has been singled out and left behind as a sector that has achieved significant growth and possesses tremendous potential.
Extracts from the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) report on the Financial Impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, 2020: Guyana’s economy is estimated at a minimum of GY$32.8B in export earnings based on the average expenditure per international traveller. This does not include indirect or induced economic impacts. Based on an analysis of the Visitors Exit Motivation Survey (VEMS) of the Bureau of Statistics, the GTA estimates that the average expenditure per international traveller per visit was GY$222,216 in 2018.
With 286,732 total visitors in 2018 and 314,727 total visitors in 2019, it is estimated that tourism injected approximately GY$62.6B directly into Guyana’s economy in 2018 and GY$69.9B in 2019. This reflects an estimated increase of GY$7.2B over 2018.
THAG represents 47 companies/ 77 small & medium-sized enterprises and our counterpart regional organisation Visit Rupununi, representing seventy plus (70+) members across the Rupununi. We are simply asking for the Tourism & Hospitality Industry to be given a chance to “Breathe” allowed to operate under the guidelines of the Official Gazette for the Public & Private Sector i.e. Section 5 (4) (a) to (m) stated below.
Registered tour operators are unable to execute one person birding tours or any other tours. Passengers can fly for six (6) hours into Guyana but flights to Kaieteur are not permitted.
Tourism is estimated the third largest export industry in Guyana. It plays a critical role in rural and national development, it is the driver of sustainable and community development, supports women-led initiatives, indigenous persons, and youth working in rural and riverain locations and have created unprecedented opportunities and supports livelihoods. Tourism sites also account for the lion’s share of the protected areas system. Tourism values chains support cottage industries, promote education, and directly contribute to conservation. Since the shutdown, several projects benefitting committed and riverain locations have been halted
Several operations spent their downtime completing maintenance at their operation and finding ways to support their staff during the first four (4) months however, mounting operational costs made this impossible to sustain.
The industry operators have a greater vested interest in a safe return to business as we fully understand the plight of our staff and their families who have been severely impacted by the pandemic. It is inconceivable how these workers, predominantly women- single mothers supporting their families have been managing these eight months. It is time to bring our women back to work, reopen our businesses and allow us to earn a living.
Tourism has been the hardest hit industry in Guyana and worldwide.
Extracts from the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO news https://www.unwto.org/news/no-time-for-timid-leadership-the-safe-restart-of-tourism-is-possible
NO TIME FOR TIMID LEADERSHIP - THE SAFE RESTART OF TOURISM IS POSSIBLE
· 18 AUG 20
The cost of the restrictions on travel introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is there for all to see.
Between January and May, the sudden and rapid fall in tourist arrivals cost an estimated $320 billion. That’s three times greater than the impact of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 on our sector – and this is just for the first five months of the year.
The re-opening of borders to tourism is a welcome relief to millions who depend on our sector. But this alone is not enough, especially in view of recent announcements and measures which seem further and further away from the international coordination that UNWTO has been calling for since the pandemic erupted.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili
RESTART TOURISM, Leaving no one behind.
Yours in Tourism,
Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana