The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has announced that it has committed to the international adventure travel guide standard. As such, a training activity was initiated last week which was designed to meet the adventure travel guide standard. Entitled ‘Raising the Bar for Adventure and Ecotourism Guiding’, the training was offered to pre-qualified tour guides and held in the North Rupununi region, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).The training included master training for four local guide trainers to lead future trainings. It was led by the CEO of Pandion Consulting Daniel K Moore, who has 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, professional travel guide, Adventure Travel Master trainer and is a trainer for the Adventure Travel Trade AssociationThe guides during the training exercise(ATTA).The core focus of the training was on how to fit naturally in the overall adventure experience, the importance and psychology of customer survive, storytelling and interpretation, and the concept of sustainable practices. However, the ultimate goal is to build existing capacity to train travel guides via elevating tour guide standards across the country.“The Guyana Tourism Authority is focused on raising tourism standards in country to meet international traveller expectations and international standard. We have formally committed to adhering to the principles of the Adventure Travel Guide Standard and implementing its requirements,” said the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Brian Mullis.Approximately 150 tour guides are currently operating in Guyana, conducting independent tours or for local companies and lodges. The GTA is of the view that it is important that they are quipped to provide a professional experience for tourists.Part of the course included building domestic capacity by targeting five core competencies which includes technical, medical, customer service, interpretation and sustainability.The adventure travel industry has expanded from an estimated $89 billion in 2010 to $263 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 45.99 per cent during the period 2016-2020. Guyana is highly attractive to the growing number of adventure travellers seeking personal growth, new destinations, immersive culture, and personal growth.This year, the GTA became a member of the ATTA as a stepping stone towards meeting these international standards. Apart from that, the organisation is responsible for developing and promoting sustainable tourism in Guyana through collaboration with sister agencies and the tourism Private Sector.
…GTU President, Education Minister no-show for conciliation talksAs planned, over 7000 teachers across the country are now officially ready to go on strike from Monday, August 27, during schools’ pre-term activities.This was confirmed by Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) President, Mark Lyte during an interview on Friday.Lyte also confirmed that he was absent from the conciliation talks on Friday, which was organised by the Social Protection Ministry’s Department of Labour for the Union and the Education Ministry to meet for talks.According to Lyte, he was unable to attend the meeting since he was out of thePresident of the GTU, Mark Lyteregion on duty and only received an official invite on Friday morning.“The notice was sent late to us so we didn’t attend, so everything remains the same. Our teachers will be going on strike on Monday,” Lyte said.He indicated that he would have received yet another invitation for a meeting with the same parties, which is now expected to be on August 28; day two into the strike action.Lyte said he is yet to confirm his attendance to the meeting. Additionally, he stated that based on his meetings with the various clusters, calls have been made for the acceptance of the taskforce’s recommendations.“I think they are getting mixed up with what the Union initially proposed and what we agreed to in the taskforce. There were several things that were changed, coming out of the Taskforce and those recommendations,” he explained.According to him, one such example is that the proposed percentage from the Union is 40 per cent on the 2015 salary, and five per cent with each year that came after until 2020.“So it’s not that we are still asking 40, 45, 50 (per cent) and so on,” he said.Minister within the Social Protection Ministry, Keith Scott has since said he understands the Union’s reason for a no show.During an interview with this publication, Scott revealed that another meeting is scheduled for August 28, given that all the required parties were not in attendance on Friday. Guyana Times was told that the meeting on Friday was called to order but was not successful in its objective.Representatives from the Ministry attended the meeting.Though Scott said he believes the GTU could have sent representatives to attendThe Guyana Teachers Union, Woolford Avenue headquarters was packed to capacity where many teachers called for mass protest (Shemuel Fanfair photo)the meeting which is of utmost importance, he related that he understands the Union’s reason for not attending.“Their absence is (based) on the fact that they are saying they got a late notice. There is no contention on our part on that issue… we were hoping that somebody (from the GTU) would have been there, so because of that I can understand them saying that they were not informed in a timely way,” the Minister said.He added that no one would like to see one of the country’s greatest resource to go on a strike, because of the known drastic effects it has and would like to see teacher’s get the remuneration they deserve.Nevertheless, Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle told Guyana Times that he has high expectations for Tuesday’s meeting and is expectant of positive outputs.“We would be glad for the Union to come (so that) we can bring this to an amicable settlement to resolve it. We are looking for a solution and we were hoping that we could have met today and avoid the strike action on Monday but that wasn’t possible,” Ogle told this publication.The Department of Labour was called in as a third party to listen to both sides in an effort to come to a compromise, after several talks between the GTU and the Education Ministry passed without much progress.GTU has rejected Government’s request for teachers to agree to a debunching payoff of $200 million for 2018/19. Lyte said the Union similarly rejected the $700 million cap that was placed on salary increases which was for 2018 only. Government also wants the clothing allowance to remain at $8000, a figure which Lyte said was given in 2011. He said, too, that for Whitley Council Leave, teachers still have to wait four years before getting their one month off, even though the GTU appealed for three years. The Union is seeking 40 per cent salary increases for its 7000 members.
Go back to the enewsletterSilversea Cruises has bolstered its expedition team ranks, appointing Bill Davis to the position of Vice President Expedition Operations and Development, effective 1 June, 2019.Bringing vast knowledge and experience garnered over many years in the expedition industry, Davis will oversee Silversea’s expanding expedition destination operations, assisting with the development of new programs, and managing the cruise line’s Expedition Field Staff from his Miami base.Davis will also oversee the Silversea Expedition Academy, which recruits and trains top industry talent to enable guests to travel deeper into destinations from pole to pole.In addition to working extensively in the field, in which he has led and participated in more than 200 expeditions on more than 40 vessels since 1993, Bill has gained an MPhil in Polar Studies from the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University. As well as both Polar Regions, Bill has journeyed to the world’s remotest locations in the South Pacific, South Atlantic, North Atlantic, Russian Far East, Newfoundland & Labrador, Alaska, and around the coasts of the UK and Norway, among others.“I am delighted to have joined the team at Silversea Cruises at this exciting time,” Davis said.“With destination expertise that is unparalleled in the industry, the cruise line’s Expedition Team is enabling guests to really explore the authentic beauty of the world in depth, sharing local knowledge and expertise accrued over many years. I am excited to further enhance Silversea’s offering for guests, with more immersive experiences in spectacular destinations,” Davis remarked.Go back to the enewsletter