The construction of what is due to be Guyana’s second five-star luxury hotel is yet a further indication of the confidence expressed in the local economy by both local and foreign investors, President Donald Ramotar has said.
Delivering the feature address at a simple ceremony to mark to the start of the construction Sun and Sand five-star luxury hotel situated at Liliendaal, just east of the Guyana International Conference Centre and west of the Caricom Secretariat, the President said he was pleased to be part an event which will result in further growth in the tourism sector and the economy.
Linkages such as those with the expanded Cheddi Jagan International Airport, connections with Europe, Asia and Africa, President Ramotar said, will be created as a result of the new investment. He added that there will be a “big spin-off effect”, for the increased potential for investment in interior communities such as Orinduik and other areas, where more community based tourism activities can occur, “leaving more of the tourist dollars in the communities”.
A pledge was also made by the President to continue working on measures to speed up the process for those who wish to invest locally.
Questioned about the possible competition from the soon to be opened Marriott Hotel, the President said he was comfortable with the entrance of another major player into the hospitality sector.
“If you go to the Caribbean, you’ll see very, very small countries with many more hotels”. He added that the fact that the country will have more accommodation will help to boost and accelerate the development of the local tourism sector, attracting even more visitors to Guyana.
The five-star Marriott Hotel is expected to officially be opened inAugust.
Minister of Tourism (ag) Irfaan Ali, also welcomed the investment adding that government is making the necessary investments, itself, in various infrastructural projects designed to move the sector forward.
Disagreeing with recent statements from some quarters calling for more to be done for the sector, the minister said that millions more will be spent on facilities such as the Tourism and Hospitality Institute, which will provide world class training and increased human resource capacity locally via its internationally accepted standards.
Minister Ali challenged anyone to find any other Caricom territory that is spending similar amounts on developing its tourism sector. The influx of airlines such as Copa, was another example of the growing sector, he added, along with new television channels such as Discovery and National Geographic which are currently filming several shows locally.
A call was also made by the Minister to have the media desist from “patriotic negativism”, in terms of their reports on incidents such as crimes, which affect the country’s image.
“The time for us to understand the importance of tourism to our country is now,” he urged.
“The government understands that tourism is a sector for the future”, he explained and pledged to work with the investor to ensure the project’s success.
The US$54 million investment, will offer 163 rooms, with five-star accommodation, casino, restaurants, pool comprising over 29,000 sq ft, with 45,000 sq ft of extra space for an entertainment complex. More than 300 persons will benefit from jobs after the hotel is constructed and according to Director of the Sun and Sand conglomerate, an Indian based company specialising in hotels, casinos, metals and mineral mining, Bushan Chandra, the facility is expected to be completed within 18 months.
Construction begins at the end of August and will be undertaken by BK International. (GINA)