Canadians see Guyana as budding ‘foodie’ destination

A GROUP of Canadian media persons and travel agents has spent the last three days here on a familiarisation tour in a bid to attract more Canadians to come and experience Guyana’s famous hospitality among other things for which it is noted.

The team, which began its tour on Saturday, consisted of owner and CEO of Roraima Travel, Mr Syed Rayman; Publisher of the Caribbean Graphic Newspaper, Mr Tony McWatt; Travel Agent Ms. Shararazad Hack-Gill; and one of Canada’s top food stylist, Mr. Nathan Fong.

In an effort to apprise the local public of their experiences thus far, the group sat in on a press briefing on Monday at the Ministry of Business and spoke of their excitement at seeing the world–renowned and majestic Kaieteur Falls up close and personal; the rustic beauty of Fort Island, Saxacalli and the Aruwai Resort among some of the various tourist dives to which they were taken.

The initiative goes hand in hand with this year’s theme for Tourism Month, ‘Tourism: A tool for Development’, and is considered timely, seeing that Destination Guyana has not been doing as well as the authorities would have liked on the Canadian tourism market.

And one of the reasons being touted is that while Guyana remains relatively safe, the high crime level is a big issue.

For Syed Rayman, who is also Chair of the Guyana-Canadian Tourism Council, the organisation behind the team’s coming here, he is hoping that something can be done as early as possible to allay those fears, as the crime situation here is a major deterrent to the Guyanese Diaspora in Canada from coming here to holiday.

He is hoping that the government can bring the situation under control, and as quickly as possible, so as to counter the negative perception out there these days about Guyana, particularly among Guyanese living abroad.

Those concerns notwithstanding, Mr Rayman seized the opportunity, on behalf of the team, to thank those who would have made their visit possible, noting what a privilege it is for them to have come here, and promised to return in the near future, bearing good news.

Mr. Fong, on the other hand, who is also one of Canada’s culinary ambassadors, believes that Guyana has a bright future in food tourism.
“I think Guyana’s tourism has great potential; their culture and culinary background varies,” he said, adding:
“Seeing the vast richness of their cultural background; the Chinese, East Indians, African, it’s a melting pot of cuisines.”

Among future strategic plans the government has for improving the industry as well as Guyana’s presence on the international market is the launching of the official Discover Guyana website, and a monthly newsletter to encourage persons to come by the droves next May for Independence Day celebrations.

For occasions such as these, where the country would experience an influx of visitors, it was advised that Guyana develop more all-inclusive packages so that visitors would be motivated to visit the country’s many sites and historic landmarks.

The tour was made possible with the support of Fly Jamaica, the Marriott International, and the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel, and concludes today, November 14th

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