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Training to tell Guyana's naturally rich story

 

Leading guides from tourism lodges, projects and organizations across Guyana traveled to the North Rupununi region this summer for a 2-week Interpretive Guide Training Program sponsored and organized by USAID’s Guyana Trade and Investment Support (GTIS) project—managed by CARANA. The training will further hone the 23 guides’ ability to connect with eco-tourists eager to explore the country’s natural rainforest.

 

USAID/Guyana Mission Director Carol Horning (woman on left) and Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai (woman on right) join the guides during the birding section of the training program.USAID/Guyana Mission Director Carol Horning (woman on left) and Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai (woman on right) join the guides during the birding section of the training program.

GTIS recruited local Guyanese experts and Chuck Lennox of Cascade Interpretive Consulting in the U.S. to instruct the guides on the roles and responsibilities of their occupation, and develop skills like group and risk management, reading an audience, and storytelling. These guides already possess a key element of their craft: knowledge of their territory. They simply need to add the colorful interpretive touch, learning how to recognize what may be interesting to tourists beyond the main focus (e.g. birding enthusiasts may also be interested in the historical events that occurred in a certain section of the jungle). Guides were also given an illustrated field booklet—prepared by the program’s experts—and training to develop their own. They will return for follow-up training in two months to give their feedback from the field.

Guyana’s Tourism Authority ¬helped coordinate this effort together with GTIS, and the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG)—with Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company sponsorship—gave transportation stipends to guides in need of resources to attend the program. Bina Hill Institute, Rock View Lodge, Atta Rainforest Lodge, and Surama Village and Eco-lodge all made this program possible by contributing lodging, meals and space for the lessons.

Published August 2011