Only one official tourism magazine
The Guyana Tourism Authority has reportedly backed out of its plan to produce a magazine rivaling the official tourist guide produced by private tour operators who make up the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, THAG.
The Association and the Government ended up in a heated dispute last week when word broke that the government was moving to solicit advertisements to produce 25, 000 copies of its own magazine called Destination Guyana. The private tourism and hospitality operators accused the government of trying to take away the funds it gets from the magazine through marketing.
For the past 14 years, Explore Guyana has been the only major publication promoting Guyana as a tourist destination. Its circulation is 25,000 and will be 30,000 this year. The magazine is widely distributed internationally and both the Ministry of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority have supported and relied on the magazine for international and domestic distribution.
After THAG complained, the Minister of Tourism Manniram Prashad shot back, saying it was up to the advertisers to decide on where they will spend their money. He also said that the magazine that was being produced would have served to complement the Explore Guyana Magazine. The Minister was also upset that the Association did not meet its word in sourcing a local publisher for the magazine.
Explore Guyana is marketed and published by Advertising and Media Services out of St Lucia. Incidentally however, the head of the publishing company has an office in Georgetown and is owned by Guyanese Lokesh Singh, who is also Guyana’s Honorary Consul to St Lucia.
Capitol News has learnt that Minister Prashad met Friday last with three main players in the tourism and hospitality association, namely Gerry Gouveia, Nicole Correia and president of the Association, Renatta Chuck-A-Sang. After a lengthy meeting, the decision was made by the government not to proceed with its magazine, but the Ministry of Tourism as well as THAG is hesitating to make an official announcement of the outcome of the meeting.
This newscast understands that a press released was written by the Executive Director of the GTA, Mr Indranath Haralsingh and sent to the Ministry of Tourism Saturday for the approval of the Minister, but it is yet to be sent out.
With just over a week away from the launch of Tourism Awareness Month, the government and the tourism association will be looking to make the public feel that they are serious about developing the fledgling industry.