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Surama Eco-tourism Enterprise, Region 9.

Surama Eco-tourism Enterprise, Region 9 started simply by having to accommodate scientists, for example from Iwokrama in the early 1990s. These visitors required food and accommodation. The first set of a large group of visitors came in 1994 through Iwokrama (Worthburg  College, Iowa, USA). The funds were used to construct the first guest house. The community subsequently linked with Rockview Lodge who also sent visitors.

Another tour operator, Tony Thorne, Wilderness Explorers then visited and subsequently partnered with Surama Village for tourism. The community was then able to construct a main guest house and 4 lodges n 2004. The first phase of the construction was completed in 2005. There has since been a steady increase in visitors with an average of 190 visitors per year.

 

Mr. Sydney Allicock
Surama Village, North Rupununi, Region 9,
Guyana

Email: sydneyallicock@yahoo.ca

 

 

Role:

Surama Village uses about 5 square miles and part of an area extending into the Annai district for tourism purposes. The community based tourism enterprise has not written any rules as yet for environmental protection. But there is a general understanding to use natural resources for economic benefits for the community without too much harm to the natural environment. Therefore, the villagers understand that they cannot destroy the environment and for the community to continue having respect for nature and develop sense of environmental protection.

Structure:

There is a Tourism Management Committee. If there is any difficulty, the matter is forwarded to the Village Council. There is a representative from the Village Council on the Tourism Management Committee.

Benefits:

The community benefits by ensuring that the taxes charged per visitor go towards a community fund. In 2004, the community based ecotourism enterprise borrowed one million dollars from NRDDB fund and repaid 4 months earlier than the stipulated pay back period. The also received 1000 USD from an organisation. The enterprise also furnished the eco-lodges, bought a bus and established an internet service with the profits from the business. The monies from the business were also loaned to two students to pursue university level education. One of the students is currently in Cuba (from Wowetta Village) and the other has already repaid loan.

Other indirect benefits to the community include sale of meat and vegetables by villagers, employment, purchase books for the school, purchased bus for the community and assist with sports, health etc. Also, women are now playing a major role in the business since they are often more reliable, for example, in accounting. The community ensures that there is a rotation of staff so that so that community lifestyle is not significantly affected, for example, sufficient time to farm, fish and hunt.

 

Certificate/Awards:
President Award for great community effort on community based tourism and Award from the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) for community based tourism.
 


     
 
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