Drones in Tourism Expo

MINISTRY OF PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS

 2018 Drones in Tourism Expo

 Sunday, November 18, 2018 @ 13.00 hrs

 OFFICIAL OPENING REMARKS

 SALUTATIONS

Mr. Donald Sinclair, Director General of Tourism

Lancelot Khan, President of the Guyana Drone Association

Representatives of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority

Members of the Drone Association in Guyana

Members of THAG and Tourism operators

Drone operators and ICT specialists

Exhibitors, drone racers

Members of the media, All …

The partnership between the tourism industry and technology has long been a foregone conclusion.  In fact, everywhere in the world where tourism is either developed or developing, is doing so with the use of technology that keeps getting better, faster, and able to produce more amazing results.

Please don’t allow anyone to assume that it is only now that Drones are being used in Guyana’s Tourism industry, or our Agriculture industry, or the housing sector.  Granted, I only knew of the existence of the Guyana Drone Operators Association early in this year, but I was very well aware since around 2013 or 2014 that the Tourism industry was benefiting from drone-assisted photography and videography in advertising.

I was literally wowed the first time I saw wide-angled aerial shots of sections of the city and the East Bank of Demerara that were taken by drones.  The quality was superb with every detail in sharp focus.  Since I first saw those shots, everything else became possible, like our ability to get the level of recognition that Guyana needs on the world market.

Then in 2015 I was fortunate to be named the Minister responsible for Tourism.   We embarked on a very focused campaign to re-package Guyana’s eco-tourism products and go on a global visibility campaign.  By then CNN had come to Guyana, as did the Harvard Business Review; USA Today; and BBC television.

At the end of that year we got another boost – a travel site in the United Kingdom had listed Kaieteur Falls among the 12 emerging travel destinations in the world for 2016.  Let me tell you, even if you’ve seen the Kaieteur Falls a hundred times, that picture on uk.insiderbusiness.com WILL get a response of awe from you.

In the shot you could see miles of the heavily forested area around the falls.  The picture shows a wide vista of pristine green forest with the Potaro River snaking through it, and the deep, rocky gorge with foaming water below the falls. You can see all of that in one awesome shot which was obviously taken by a UAV, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

As I said earlier, Technology in Tourism is inevitable.  Drones in tourism marketing in today’s high-tech world are like ketchup on French Fries.  In this digital era, you can’t have one without the other.  I know I’m preaching to the choir but there is no more doubt that drones shoot the most perfect, highest resolution images that evoke the WOW effect.  These images give us a unique perspective, they give us a bird’s eye view when close ups just won’t do.

Someone asked, “Why are wide angled views so breath-taking?”  Well, I’m sure you’ll agree that the drones shooting from high in the air manage to capture the kind of dynamism in one shot which is just not possible on the ground.

That is one reason why online viewing of travel videos is so high.  The spectacular aerials definitely attract more attention.

One last thing … Pitching your tourism product to the world market using high resolution videos and photographs should be the start of a campaign.  How about combining another tech talent, one that we are currently nurturing in Guyana?  I’m talking about Animation.

It shouldn’t be difficult to segue from aerial shots of the mountains and savannahs to an animated tour inside a resort; or to a jet boat zipping down the Essequibo River; or to a motor race at South Dakota; and even to a virtual tour of Parliament Buildings.

 

CONCLUSION

A drone is a smart investment.  Operators already know that drones are the future of life as we know it.  You know that drones are being used in Agriculture, building construction, land surveying, forestry and advertising; for racing and just for fun.  You also know what little impact drones have on the environment, with no emissions and little noise.

Now operators in the Tourism industry have another shift to make, perhaps to use drones to see ahead of a night trekking group and pinpoint the positions of black caiman in the savannahs of the Rupununi.

I look forward to hearing some of the presentations today, and especially to seeing the exhibition.  Now it is my pleasure to declare this exhibition open.

 

Catherine A. Hughes

MINISTER