COVID-19 pandemic jeopardized over 4,000 jobs in tourism sector – GTA Director

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GTA’s Director Carla James

Arrivals in Guyana from January to November 2020 plummeted by 98 per cent due to travel restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

As a result, tourism-related businesses incurred a total revenue loss of 42 per cent during the period March to September. This saw some 4,600 persons’ jobs being affected.
Altogether, loss of expenditure in Guyana’s economy from tourism has been pegged at approximately $32.8B in 2020 alone.

These were the figures presented by Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Carla James on Thursday during the GTA’s End-of-Year virtual press conference.

“This has really been detrimental in some 1cases to how they [tourism businesses] have been having no cash flow. They’ve not been able to keep their staff which resulted in approximately 4,600 or 65 percent of the tourism workforce basically without jobs,” James stated.

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After Guyana’s airports were closed to unauthorized international flights in March, it was gradually reopened to allow for controlled repatriation flights and, presently, international flights with the requirement of a negative PCR test.

The GTA Director said that, as a result of the adjustments that have been made to cater to flights to the country and to allow certain businesses to operate locally, the sector is slowly beginning to revive itself.
“We’re now opening up and that is starting to change with businesses now getting approval to reopen; hotels, basically going back in operation etcetera,” she said.

However, it was noted that indigenous communities directly linked to the tourism value chain have been particularly affected. The Authority has noticed that many in these communities have returned to farming and jobs in the extractive industry for survival.

James underscored that the latter [extractive mining] is not beneficial to the tourism sector and it is for that reason the GTA is pleased to see the gradual restart of tourism.



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