GEORGETOWN, Guyana: The government has launched a new initiative to woo Guyanese in the diaspora back home in an attempt to boost tourist arrivals by 20 per cent.
The government recently unveiled a “Festival of Colours” package that centres on the country’s Holi/Phagwah festival that takes place from March 2 to 9.
Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali, said this was the first in a series of tourism packages to be unleashed under the “Rediscover Home” Tourism Initiative.
“We are targeting overseas-based Guyanese directly, to come home to rediscover and enjoy the cultural activities in their home… Towards this end, there will be a package available for the week-long activities,” Ali said.
The government has teamed up with Caribbean Airlines and local hotels to offer a package that includes airfare and hotel accommodation. Ali said the packaging of activities around the rich Guyanese culture would help boost the country’s tourism industry.
Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Indranauth Haralsingh, said March was targeted because of the week-long festivity and the general lull in visitors during that period.
“An activity of this nature will aid the tourism sector’s objective of surpassing the tourist arrival figure for 2011,” he said.
According to figures from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, some 126,313 visitors arrived in Guyana between January and October 2011, a 0.8 per cent increase from the previous year. The industry received a major boost with the recent arrival of a team from the History Channel on a journey to photograph and capture some of Guyana’s most untouched and pristine areas, following in the steps of such reputable worldwide companies as the British Broadcasting Corporation.