By Ronald Sammi
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- Guyana will likely by year-end achieve a record-breaking 20 percent increase in tourist arrivals over last year’s figure, as up to October there was already an increase of 17.7 % over the corresponding period, according to Director, Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Indranauth Haralsingh.
“We are very happy to report that we have had record arrivals so far for the year … we have had 148,628 visitors compared with 126,313 up to the end of October,” said the GTA director at a press conference on Tuesday.
Haralsingh also said that Guyana is again leading the 34-member Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) grouping in terms of percentage increase in arrivals, having done this in 2010.
He said that the country has been experiencing record-breaking months all year and that all the months up to October except for May have been the best ever since the GTA started capturing and recording visitor arrivals since 1995.
The majority of these tourists are from the United States, which has contributed 57 percent of the visitors to the country, Haralsingh said. The Caribbean accounted for 21 percent, Canada 14 percent, Europe 5 percent, South Central America 2 percent and the rest of the world 1 percent.
The GTA director is attributing the tourist arrivals to a number of tourism strategies being employed to promote Guyana as a popular tourist destination by the authority, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and the private sector and other stakeholders.
“We attribute this increase in arrivals, to the re-discover home initiative where we are proactively and aggressively encouraging Guyanese living abroad to come back home to spend time in Guyana for their vacation or leisure, to retire to invest or to volunteer and the response has been terrific so far,” he said.
“It is also attributable to marketing strategies of both the government of Guyana, the Guyana Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Tourism and the private sector also to the growing popularity of Guyana as a prime destination for wildlife and for eco-tourism, for business as well,” he continued.
He also cited other contributing factors including the improvement in airlift, lower airfares, new direct routes from Miami, Canada, New York and Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana, successful hosting of tourism events, concerts, celebrity entertainers who have been in Guyana throughout the year, the expanded sales distribution network world-wide of destination Guyana and more Guyanese discovering the positive development in the country.
With the tourism package being offered during the Christmas holiday, this coupled with the Christmas concerts, the extended four-day Main Street Lime and the nostalgia for the unique Guyanese Christmas, Haralsingh said that GTA is anticipating a record December.