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As part of her National Beautification Project, the First Lady Arya Ali, on Tuesday, unveiled a $25M ‘Welcome to Guyana’ sign at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
The new signature landmark is 20-feet and includes 100 hanging flower baskets on the light posts from the Timheri junction to the site.
The First Lady unveiled the sign in the presence of the President Irfaan Ali; Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond; Diplomats, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CJIA, Ramesh Ghir; and businessman Neal Sukhlall.
The Office of the First Lady, in August 2020, had engaged in talks with the Management of CJIA and the Impressions – a local branding and marketing company – about the project.
“Today’s launch is a demonstration of the successful implementation of this project, since it was done through a collaborative approach involving key government agencies and our private sector partners,” the First Lady said.
The undertaking involved landscaping of the entire surrounding area at the CJIA. The sign was designed, built and installed by Impressions and the hanging baskets were sponsored by oilfield services company TotalTec. The overall cost of the project is estimated to be in excess of $25M. The First Lady said that she believes that the development of the area will add to the value of Guyana’s tourism experience, and support efforts to market Brand Guyana.
“In an emerging economy like ours, marketing is functionally important. So, every tourist, expat, or even local who snaps a photograph at this multi-million dollar sign and uploads it to their social media profile is helping us to improve and increase Guyana’s brand awareness,” she stated.
The First Lady added that an enhanced public space gives locals in the area something to feel proud of and celebrate. “Ultimately, for us, it is about providing a better and happier life for our people,” she said.
Similar scenic conservation and revitalization projects undertaken by the Office of the First Lady are ongoing at the Kingston Seawall, Tuschen Community Centre ground, and La Jealousie on the West Coast of Demerara.
Ghir, in his remarks, underscored the importance of such a project at a time when Guyana is poised for economic transformation and an expansion of the tourism and hospitality sectors. The CEO was keen to note that post-COVID, Guyana will come in sharp focus and it must be ready to offer tourists a rich package. He also commended the First Lady for her astute leadership in transforming the idea of this project into reality.
Shane Sukhlall, representative of Impressions, who also spoke briefly, underscored the role of the private sector in Guyana’s development. He noted how important it was for the government and the private sector to have symbiotic relationship which ultimately benefits the people of Guyana.