by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 12 October 2007)
I have always loved to travel, but when I travel it is important to me to find a hotel that has a familiar name. At this point in my life I am more of a Hilton girl than a Marriott girl, but if there is no Hilton hotel where I am going, a Marriott hotel will do just fine in a pinch.
Even though I have an adventurous spirit, there is something very comforting about staying in a hotel that has a familiar name, which is why I am pleased with the news of a Marriott hotel being built in Guyana.
Moreover, I can say with full confidence that many people from the U.S. and Europe will feel the same comforting feeling when they search for accommodations in Guyana and find a five-star Marriott on the list.
I have travelled to many states in the U.S. and to other countries and I’ve stayed in some really nice hotels and some really raunchy hotels. Those bad hotel experiences – with bugs in the bed, sticky floors and nasty bathrooms – are the reason I have learned to seek out hotels with familiar names.
Marriott has an international reputation for maintaining a certain standard of excellence, not only in cleanliness and top-notch facilities, but also in customer service. In fact, customer service is the second most important aspect I expect from any hotel, restaurant or store – after cleanliness.
So why am I giving the readers in Guyana an American view of the Marriott? Because the fact that a Marriott is being built in Guyana is a gigantic step toward boosting tourism. The introduction of a major hotel chain in Guyana is a definite sign of good things to come.
When I visit Guyana, if I do not stay with family I stay at the Pegasus. I have enjoyed my time at this fine establishment and I will probably stay there again on my next visit. Like I said, I like a familiar face. However, my desire for familiarity does not in the least negate the wonderful prospects of an introducing an international hotel chain to Guyana.
Trinidad has a Marriott, St. Kitts has a Marriott, Aruba has a Marriott, Curacao has a Marriott, and so does the Grand Caymans and St. Thomas. I also read about a Marriott opening in Barbados this year. These are all very serious tourist spots, so just imagine what it could do for Guyana’s tourism sector to be added to this fun-in-the-sun Caribbean vacation list.
I do, of course, have some reservations about building yet another hotel in Guyana when it does not seem as if the established hotels – just built in the last year – can keep their rooms filled. However, this is one time when I am going to hold my tongue concerning my reservations because I know how good this can be for Guyana.
Perhaps the next five years will see a growing tourism sector and even more hotels will come to Guyana. Maybe next time a Hilton. I know it is uncharacteristic of me to be so optimistic, but even in the U.S. it is very promising to see a Marriott come to a community. It means money will soon come to the community too.
Typically, when a Marriott opens in an area, it spawns several other businesses too, like restaurants, retail stores and tourist spots. Dozens of jobs are created and the community thrives financially.
It is heartening to see the government make some wise financial decisions for a change. Now the only question remaining is whether the government can protect these new businesses from the money laundering drug lords, whimsical politicians and crooked government officials.
If the government is serious about letting the world know that Guyana is a tourist friendly country, then it time to start genuinely cracking down on crime. It is obvious that several measures have been taken to spruce Guyana up, repair some of the roads and open interesting tourist spots – like the new mall.
These will all attract tourists, but will those tourists be safe once they get here? The Marriott will attract even more tourists, which is what we all want and hope. We want the tourists to come – and to bring lots of money with them.
Here’s hoping someone in the government is giving at least a little thought as to how to protect the tourists and the tourism businesses or all of this hard work will be for naught.