Christmas shoppingWith Christmas Day only days away, Georgetown is buzzing with activities as excited persons fill the city’s streets and sellers display their festive commodities.Georgetown — in particular along Regent Street to Avenue of the Republic — is becoming more congested, as exuberant vendors look forward to an exciting Christmas with their families this year.However, when Guyana Times caught up with some of the vendors on Monday, they expressed that all is not as merry and bright as it may seem. A clothing vendor who gave her name only as Natasha said sales are slow although theVendor Don Paulstreets are filled with persons.“Right now things lil slow, but I’m hoping that it will pick up, maybe by weekend into next week. People not really buying clothes…but in between yuh still getting one and two things sell. I know things will pick up later on, man,” she told this publication.Meanwhile, a beads and craft vendor related that “things going nice” so far for the season.Leon Anthony said people are shopping every day. He took the time to encourage the Guyanese public to be safe on the road ways, and to always designate a driver if consuming alcohol during this season.“Everything nice, man! Everybody doing deh shopping; businesses blooming and so on. No complaints. My wish for Guyana is for everyone to have a merry Christmas and a blessed new year. Make sure to use the roadways safely, and just have a nice time,” Anthony declared.Don Paul, a fruits vendor, highlighted the reason for the season as he stated thatVendor Jerry Londonit’s a time to spread love and joy to each other. “It’s not only shopping up and suh; this time is to spend time with yuh family and people close to you. My plans for this Christmas is just to eat, drink and be merry. Season’s greetings to all Guyanese near and far”.He also noted that even though “things are slow”, he is contented with whatever he sells at the end of the day.When Guyana Times spoke with plants vendor Jerry London within the city about business sales and his plans for the season, he related that even though the holidays are near, the sales are still quite low.“Well, even though things are slow, I know that Guyanese are late shoppers; so I’m hoping that it will pick up in the week.”These vendors remain positive that things will change over the coming week.SafetyFor business persons, the Guyana Police Force has called for checks to be made to Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems to ensure they are working properly. In fact, the Force is encouraging that Digital Video Recorder (DVRs) be properly secured to preserve valuable information.Advice was also issued for visitors in the capital city by ‘A Division’ (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander Marlon Chapman recently, as he urgedNatasha (only name given) along with other vendors on Avenue of the Republic, Georgetownshoppers to “carry your wallet in an inside jacket or inside trousers pocket. Avoid rear pockets. Keep purses on your lap when dining out, Not dangling over the back of a chair.”According to Chapman, Police patrols and outposts around the city will be boosted in a bid to ensure a secure shopping environment.He revealed that part of the efforts to ensure increased safety is the splitting of Georgetown into seven sub-sections, as compared to six last year.These sub-sections run from Agricola, Greater Georgetown to Central Georgetown. The areas will be equipped with mobile outposts and frequent patrols will occur, with senior members of the GPF in charge of each sub-sector.
Opportunity for marine tourism to benefit NZThe benefits of marine tourism must be recognised in plans to create marine protected areas around New Zealand, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.Establishing marine protected areas will help attract both international and domestic visitors, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says. A network of marine protected areas would increase visitor numbers to adjoining regions, growing local economies.However, more consultation with the tourism industry is needed, particularly if a concessions system is introduced, Mr Roberts says.“Tourism operators such as whale watch operators, seal swimming operators, diving and snorkelling operators, kayak operators and recreational fishing charters have strong links and interest in marine protected areas. We are of the opinion that tourism and the sector’s interests are strongly under-represented in the proposal.”In its submission to the Ministry for the Environment, TIA says the proposal shows a lack of understanding of the potential impact on the tourism sector.Seafood exports are worth $1.38 billion a year to New Zealand but international tourism adds $11.8 billion to the economy.So it is vitally important that any legislation for Marine Protected Areas take the tourism industry into consideration, Mr Roberts says. It must also consider the needs of the cruise sector, which is worth $436 million a year to New Zealand’s economy.The benefits of marine reserves to communities has been proved, with Northland’s Poor Knights Islands being an excellent example, he says. Since the Poor Knights received Marine Reserve Status in 2008, there has been significant growth in dive/snorkel adventure tourism to the area.Dive! Tutukaka, a dive charter/eco-tourism operator on the Tutukaka Coast, estimates that the direct value of their tourism attraction to the local community over the last 20 years exceeds $50 million. During the height of the season, they directly employ over 60 people, all due to activities generated from having the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve.Research has shown that dive visitors to Tutukaka spend considerably more than other visitors. This success could be replicated elsewhere, Mr Roberts says.“The proposal to establish Marine Protected Areas could bring benefits to New Zealand for years to come and will support the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 goal of growing total annual tourism revenue to $41 billion over the next decade,” Mr Roberts says. Tourism Industry Association New ZealandSource = Tourism Industry Association New Zealand