There is a “dire need” for more hotels in Guyana, according to the country’s tourism minister, who says demand for rooms already outstrips supply despite the government’s plan to bolster visitor numbers amid an economic boom.
The news will be of significant interest to investors in the tourism sector who are seeking opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean, where Guyana is expected to register the highest growth rate in the region every year until 2023.
According to Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry Oneidge Walrond, the lack of hotel capacity is so profound that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had to cancel a planned visit to the Guayana because the necessary accommodation could not be booked.
“The Marriott is booked all the way to January!” Oneidge Walrond told local media, highlighting the seriousness of the lack of supply.
Walrond said that the current government had sent Expressions of Interest for branded hotels within a month of coming to power in August 2020, and that currently at least eight major hotel projects are being developed.
Those include a $15 million boutique hotel under the Aiden / Best Western brand that began in capital Georgetown in March 2021, while in November 2020 the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with investors for a $90 million Hilton Hotel to be constructed in the Greater Georgetown area (all figures in USD).
Other projects for hotels in Guyana include a 289-room branded hotel in a key business district of the capital, and a $100 million project for a five-star Radisson Blu Hotel. Meanwhile, a $20 million Marriott Courtyard Hotel is being designed and will be constructed near Cheddi Jagan International Airport, which serves Georgetown.
Hotels in Guyana needed amid economic boom
The need for more hotels in Guayana comes amid a major economic boom, driven by discoveries of significant oil deposits off the country’s coast, with the government earlier this year launching a process to find a partner to market its share of the crude being produced.
Since signing a contract with the Guayanese government in 2016, ExxonMobile has made a series of discoveries in the Atlantic Ocean’s Stabroek Block, with deposits totalling nine billion barrels already identified before major discoveries were made earlier this year.
That has contributed to Guyana experiencing a period of unprecedented economic growth, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth hitting 43.5% in 2020, even as most of the world’s economies were being rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the World Bank has predicted that GDP growth will exceed 20%, while in 2022 it is predicted to hit a staggering 49.7%.
That strong economic performance comes as the government is seeking to bolster the tourism sector, with Guaynese President Irfaan Ali heralding the opportunities available for investors in the nascent sustainable tourism industry during a recent appearance at Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Guyana is a destination that boasts an irresistible combination of fascinating and breath-taking natural beauty, blended with a vibrant indigenous culture, rich heritage, and a hospitable and friendly people,” Ali was quoted as saying.
Days later, Ali announced that 6,000 Guyanese would be trained for the hospitality sector as part of a cooperation agreement with Barbados.
With tourism already one of a number of major business opportunities in Guyana, the strong economy and heavy promotion that the tourism industry is receiving will be of considerable interest to investors.
While a number of projects for building hotels in Guyana are already ongoing, Walrond’s statements demonstrate that the government is still seeking more.
The need for more hotels in Guyana and promotion of tourism by the government comes at an exciting time for the Guyanese economy, as oil money floods in and diversification reduces reliance on other traditional industries.
Those include gold production and shipbuilding, which provide two of the country’s most important export products. Guyana also boasts major deposits of diamonds and aluminium ore.
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