To effectively support the growth of sustainable tourism in the Rupununi, Guyana.
To develop, improve and promote the sustainable tourism offer in the Rupununi through building the capacity of local communities and tourism stakeholders; establishing standards on quality and safety while conserving the nature-based, traditional heritage of the Rupununi; and marketing the region as a single destination with a wide variety of offers.
- To adopt a strategic approach for the development and improvement of a sustainable tourism offer in the Rupununi;
- To work with national and local tourism stakeholders and develop a platform for the promotion of sustainable tourism in the Rupununi;
- To provide technical support to local communities in the development of their tourism products;
- To provide training and research programmes to communities and tourism stakeholders;
- To establish a data management system for regional visitor information through coordination with national tourism stakeholders and agencies.
The Rupununi, a part of Guyana’s Administrative Region Nine is the ‘home’ of three groups of Indigenous Peoples: the Macushi, Wapishana and Wai Wai. The Macushi live mainly in the north, the Wapishana in the south and the Wai Wai inhabit the southernmost part of the region. The entire region is 57,979 square kilometers and it has approximately 20,000 inhabitants living in about 60 villages and the main administrative centre and town, Lethem. The main livelihood activities of the people of the Rupununi are namely, traditional mixed-farming, hunting, gathering and fishing. In the late nineteen century, cattle ranching became a major economic activity in the Rupununi, as Europeans settled in some areas. While the cattle industry has since declined, the ‘ranch life-style’, is still visible in most parts of the region.
Clearly, the main attraction of the region is its unbridled and intact nature. The area offers domestic and international visitors the opportunity to experience dramatic vistas, wetlands, untouched tropical rain forests, majestic rivers and savannah plains. These natural habitats are also home to numerous species of flora and fauna and endangered species such as the jaguar, caiman, harpy eagle, giant river otter and anteater. Indigenous communities run some of the lodges and share their local knowledge and skills with guests, who are willing to pay a high price for this experience. The nature experience combined with the management of tourism by local communities is highly rated by tourists.
The region also receives the support of Visit Rupununi, a non-profit Regional Destination Marketing & Management Organisation (RDMMO) involving private, public and community representatives and operating in the Rupununi region as a whole.
Visit Rupununi was established in 2015 as Guyana’s first RDMMO with support from Conservation International-Guyana (CI), as a response to a recommendation from the region’s stakeholders to have one body to coordinate nature and community-based tourism efforts in the region. Its mandate includes marketing the services of its members, offering support through training and capacity building, and representing the Rupununi as a whole. The organization represents the interests of regional, community and private sector stakeholders from all tourism and service-related sectors by facilitating networking and relationship building. The organization has fostered an environment whereby stakeholders regard themselves as partners and collectively articulate and garner support on issues which affect them. Visit Rupununi has also established a brand for the region and increased its market reach within international markets in the US and Canada.
Additionally, the organization advocate, and provide input into the wider tourism goals of Guyana and works in tandem with the Guyana Tourism Authority, the Department of Tourism, and the Guyana Tourism and Association of Guyana by coordinating its programmes in the region.
Our membership consist of tourism operatives within the Rupununi Wetlands, Lethem and South Cluster, with a vision “to develop and support tourism through capacity building, marketing, and awareness within the region while at the same time providing high standard and quality product that is diverse and safe, with strong emphasis on conservation of our biodiversity and the rich traditional heritage of the Rupununi”.
Visit Rupununi is governed by an Executive Committee, and a Destination Management team which is responsible for the smooth running of the day to day operation of the organization.
Destination Management Team
Name: Yusuf Abraham
Designation: Tourism Programme Assistant
VR Executive Role: –
Yusuf Abraham, is a true Rupununian, born in Brazil, he grew up in the Rupununi. With a devotion to community Yusuf has been a certified volunteer with Red Cross Guyana and Remote Area Medical (RAM) for over 10 years; has been involved in delivering medical assistance and awareness training on HIV/AIDS in many indigenous villages and has volunteered with the Civil Defence Commision (CDC), aiding in the distribution of food and cleaning hampers to all the villages across the Rupununi impacted by the floods of 2021. After wokring with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry and Fronteering, he joined Visit Rupununi in the role of Tourism Programme Assistant in June 2021. Yusuf is focused on delivering support services to the organisations growing membership and to channeling his love for the region and adventurous spirit into marketing the Rupununi to a wider audience..
Name: Irene Turner
Designation: Finance Officer
VR Executive Role: –
At 27 years of age, Ms Irene Turners was born d in the small village of Katoonarib in South Central, Rupununi. Having worked with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Ltd for 7 years Ms. Turner joined the Team at Visit Rupununi’s offices in Lethem in July 2021. Ms Turner loves traveling and serves as Visit Rupununi’s Finance Officer.