The Tourism Ministry is set to work aggressively this year to boost arrivals, increase occupancy and to create and to sustain demands for ‘Destination Guyana’.
Minister with the portfolio, Irfaan Ali, made this bold announcement during a press briefing last week, where he outlined the various strategies that will be pursued to achieve these goals.
According to Ali, one of the main initiatives is the launch of a visitor plan for 2013 for the Mashramani celebrations in February, which will be designed to target the needs of all visitors particularly those from the neighbouring countries of Brazil, Suriname and Trinidad.
He explained, “One of the main initiatives is the launch of a visitor plan for 2013, you will know that we have a lot of Guyanese returning home for Mashramani but we have not, in a structured way been able to target the potential of our neighbours.”
In this regard, the Ministry will focus its energies on attracting the participation of a 30 member Brazilian Samba Band, which has the potential to attract as much as 400 ‘followers’ to Guyana.
“This will be utilized as the vehicle through which we can attract an average of 400 tourists. We are working with the state of Roraima and tourism agencies within the State to promote and sell packages,” Minister Ali explained.
In addition to this, there is also strong interest from a Surinamese delegation from the Aptijt (pronounced Uptake) Band , which is one of the leading Bands in that country with a following of at least 500 persons.
Alluding to the benefits of these and other interests, Ali said, “We are already working to make this happen. In addition to this, there is also strong interest from Trinidad, where persons will also celebrating Carnival close to Mashramani. We want to target that population and offer Guyana as the potential destination that they can visit, we are going to promote our eco lodges and resorts and river tours.”
The Tourism Minister revealed that a massive ‘Street Celebration’ is being conceptualized as part of the plan to attract more persons for the upcoming Mashramani celebrations and to magnify the significance of the occasion.
He said, “We are planning street celebration on Brickdam on the eve of Mashramani so that the celebrations can lead all the way into the main celebration.”
Mashramani 2013 will be celebrated under the theme ‘Reflecting creativity, Embracing Diversity’ and as is customary, the occasion is expected to attract thousands of visitors from across the world.
The word ‘Mashramani’ is derived also from the Amerindian language and in translation means “the celebration of a job well done”, it is sometimes referred to as “Mash”, and is observed on the 23 February – Guyana’s Republic Day – to commemorate the “Birth of the Republic”.