Tourism in Guyana gets a boost

Tourism to Guyana has been given a boost by Marriott, which announced June 22 that it is to build a 160-room hotel in the capital, its first in the country.

The news was welcomed by Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo, who said that the landmark project would "transform the hospitality landscape" and encourage more travel and tourism development for the nation.

Jagdeo described the project as more of an integrated entertainment complex, offering a casino, nightclub, restaurant and boardwalk.

It will be located in Guyana's capital, Georgetown, where the Demerara River meets the Atlantic Ocean, and is expected to open in 2013.

Guyana is working hard to attract private sector tourism firms to invest in the country, which offers a tropical climate, large swathes of unspoilt rainforests and an incredibly rich ecosystem.

As a result, Guyana enjoys considerable popularity with nature-loving tourists, who flock to see the 815 species of migrant and resident birds and 1800 species of fish, as well as exploring the remote, largely uninhabited areas of mountains.

It has performed relatively well during the recent economic downturn, despite tourism officials warning in 2007 that the high cost of living could result in the country pricing itself out of the market.

In 2009, Guyana saw an influx of tour groups and visitors and lodge owners are reporting that occupancy rates for 2010 are looking to be better than any previous years. 

According to tourism authorities, the number of international tour operators actively promoting, designing and selling birding and natural history trips to Guyana has risen to more than 40 in the past four years.

Marriott will be one of the first major hotel chains to enter Guyana, which offers a host of small hotel accommodation options in Georgetown but no international operators.