Although the Guyana Tourism Authority has reported that Guyana recorded a 13.9% increase in arrivals for the first quarter of 2015, there was a sharp decrease in arrivals in the run up to national elections which were held on May 11.
Guyana has seen the arrival of just over 46,000 visitors for this year.
The month of April registered a 6.4% decline in visitor arrivals although there was much talk of persons returning home to cast their ballots.
The GTA Director, Indranauth Haralsingh, said the criticisms that have been leveled against the organization, claiming that recent stats provided in relation to visitor arrivals were false, have not gone unnoticed.
He sought to guarantee that the information provided to the public and stakeholders is accurate and he spent Thursday afternoon walking the media through the process, to clarify how the information is captured and analyzed.
There have been concerns about the tourist arrival numbers being lumped in the total arrival numbers and all of those figures being shown as tourist arrivals.
The GTA Director explained that Guyanese who have migrated and would return to Guyana for any reason, would be considered as visitors.
Additionally, a non-national visiting Guyana for any reason is also listed as a visitor.
However, a Guyanese resident returning from an overseas visit is not a listed as visitor, he noted.
Data is currently captured form the main ports of entry including the Cheddi Jagan Airport, Ogle Airport, Moleson Creek crossing and Lethem.
In an invited comment, the GTS Head said he is optimistic of working with the new Tourism Minister, Cathy Hughes and he added that he is looking forward to a dramatic transformation of the tourism sector.
“She is the first Minister of Tourism that has come from travel and tourism background. She has been living and breathing tourism and actually communications, because she is a communication specialist,” Haralsingh said.
Hughes is a founding member and served as President of the Tourism and Hospital Association of Guyana for a number of years and was also the Shadow Tourism Minister in the 10th Parliament.
To this end, the GTA Director recognized the critical role she played in lobbying for the establishment of the Guyana Tourism Authority.
“We are looking forward to working with her. I have worked for a number of years with the honorable Minister and we are very optimistic of dramatic transformation in tourism.”