How to Sell: Guyana

Set be­tween the At­lantic coast and the Amazon rain­for­est, ex­otic Guyana presents an in­trigu­ing smor­gas­bord of cul­tural and nat­u­ral at­trac­tions, says Laura Gelder

Selling Travel - - Contents -

Why sell it?

This small, mul­ti­cul­tural na­tion has long been a mem­ber of both the Caribbean Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion (CTO) and the Latin Amer­i­can Travel As­so­ci­a­tion (LATA) – since it strad­dles both re­gions – but it re­cently an­nounced it is to get UK rep­re­sen­ta­tion in a bid to boost its vis­i­bil­ity.

Who to sell to?

Guyana isn’t well known but for agents with clients who wish to get off the well-trod­den tourist paths, or for de­voted wildlife or eco­travel en­thu­si­asts, it has a strong appeal.

How to sell it?

Guyana has enough to oc­cupy trav­ellers for a stand­alone hol­i­day but most op­er­a­tors com­bine it with other coun­tries. Jour­ney Latin Amer­ica (jour­ney­lati­namer­ica.co.uk) of­fers the 'Coq of the Rock: Trail­blaz­ing the Guineas' itin­er­ary which takes in Rio and Boa Vista in Brazil be­fore head­ing to Guyana, French Guiana and the ex Dutch colony Suri­name.

Mean­while, Rain­bow Tours (rain­bow­tours.co.uk) matches Guyana with Tobago, with three days on a Caribbean beach round­ing off an adventure-packed itin­er­ary nicely.

The coun­try can be reached via con­nect­ing flights through Caribbean Air­lines from Toronto, New York and Mi­ami, LIAT in Bar­ba­dos, Copa Air­lines in Panama, and now Amer­i­can Air­lines, which starts a Mi­ami-Guyana ser­vice on Novem­ber 16.

What to sell?

Bor­dered by Venezuela, Brazil, Suri­name and the At­lantic Ocean, Guyana is a melt­ing pot of East In­dian and African in­flu­ences but also pep­pered with in­dige­nous Amerindi­ans, Euro­peans (it has a his­tory of Bri­tish colo­nial­ism), and Chi­nese.

In its cap­i­tal, Ge­orge­town, Bri­tish colo­nial architecture and Hindu tem­ples sit side by side and the food ranges from Caribbean goat stews to In­dian cur­ries.

With a stag­ger­ingly var­ied to­pog­ra­phy for such a small coun­try, Guyana boasts rugged moun­tains, tum­bling wa­ter­falls and vast swathes of jun­gle, sa­van­nas and moun­tains in­land, while its un­spoilt coast­line mixes beaches with wildlife re­serves, man­groves and sugar plan­ta­tions.

Trav­ellers can head to the jun­gle by boat, trav­el­ling up the Esse­quibo River to stay in eco-lodges, ex­plore trails and look for wildlife ac­com­pa­nied by a ranger.

Twitch­ers and ama­teur nat­u­ral­ists will be in heaven with Guyana's rich flora and fauna. There are more than 225 species of mam­mals, 800-plus species of birds and some 6,500 va­ri­eties of plants. Guyana is

“Guyana is the only coun­try in South Amer­ica

where English is the of­fi­cial lan­guage, though

many di­alects and in­dige­nous lan­guages

are also spo­ken”

Colin Ste­wart, Chair­man, LATA

home to some of South Amer­ica’s largest species, in­clud­ing black caiman, capy­bara, green ana­conda, gi­ant river ot­ter, false vam­pire bat, harpy ea­gle and jaguar.

There's also a chance to meet in­dige­nous Amerindian com­mu­ni­ties and learn a lit­tle about their cul­ture.

Top spots?

At five times the height of Ni­a­gara Falls, Kai­eteur Falls is Guyana's best-known at­trac­tion. Other jewels in­clude the wild Shell Beach, with its nest­ing tur­tles, ecolodges and wildlife spot­ting along the Esse­quibo River, the cow­boy cul­ture of the Rupu­nuni Sa­van­nah; and the misty flat-tops of the Pakaraima Moun­tains.

When to go?

Equa­to­rial Guyana is hot year-round, with an av­er­age tem­per­a­ture of around 27C and high hu­mid­ity that peaks in the rainy sea­son. There are dis­tinct cli­matic dif­fer­ences be­tween the coastal belt and the in­te­rior.

The coast is cooled by sea breezes and has a wet sea­son from mid-Novem­ber to mid-Jan­uary and then May to mid-July.

In­land, heavy rains ar­rive May-Au­gust when sa­van­nas flood and rivers can rise

30ft. There are lighter show­ers to­wards the end of De­cem­ber, dubbed the ‘cashew rains’, as they oc­cur dur­ing the nut har­vest.

What do the ex­perts say?

Colin Ste­wart, Chair­man of LATA, re­ports a 6% in­crease in Guyana's 2017 tourist ar­rivals, and puts the rise down to new tourism in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing three new ho­tels and the in­tro­duc­tion of a new in­dige­nous ex­pe­ri­ence and au­then­tic ecolodge in Wara­poka, north Guyana, due to start this au­tumn 2018. An ex­panded air­port in Ge­orge­town and a new flight con­nec­tion by Amer­i­can Air­lines will open it up fur­ther.

"Wel­com­ing lit­tle more than 3,000 visi­tors a year, Guyana is ideal for those who want an ex­pe­ri­ence away from the crowds. The Guyana Tourism Board is tak­ing steps to strengthen its po­si­tion as a lead­ing sus­tain­able tourism des­ti­na­tion," he said.

“An ideal des­ti­na­tion for UK visi­tors seek­ing an offthe-beaten path ex­pe­ri­ence, Guyana is emerg­ing as

a new hot spot for ad­ven­tur­ous UK trav­ellers”

Colin Ste­wart, Chair­man of LATA

A RED-HANDED TA­MARIN MON­KEY

COLO­NIAL GE­ORGE­TOWN

KAI­ETEUR FALLS

A GI­ANT RIVER OT­TER

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