Community

Doing business in our corner of the world means you live and work as a family. 

Our suppliers and our partners are people we’ve known for years, people we trust and count on to make sure visitors have the very best possible experience

 

For over 25 years, Wilderness Explorers has been a vital and central player in developing Guyana’s nascent tourism sector. Today, the company handles the lion’s share of Guyana’s inbound leisure tourist traffic and increasing business to our neighbouring countries in South America and the Caribbean. Yet, Guyana still sees fewer such tourists per year than Machu Pichu receives in a day.

 

So, this is a personal endeavour for us: we remain actively and personally engaged with the Indigenous communities featured in our itineraries, helping them develop their product, address operational challenges, train their staff, manage customer service issues, and explore opportunities to reach wider audiences. We consider every tour as an economic development opportunity through sustainable community tourism. Many of the communities we work with have no other regular source of cash flow other than revenues generated through tourism: most Indigenous and Maroon villagers are otherwise engaged in classic sustenance agriculture. Creating viable and sustainable opportunities in ecotourism reduces the attractiveness of other options for cash income such as logging, mining, and megafarms owned by multinational corporations.

 

When we got started in this business, few resources were available and there were barely any destinations worth visiting without embarking upon a mad month-long deep wilderness odyssey. We continue to work hand-in-hand with the region’s leadership, lodge owners, tourism entrepreneurs, and grass roots organizations to create a viable tourism product that appeals to an international audience. It’s been a long road, and much remains to be done, but we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished with our friends and partners.

Here are just a few examples of our current active partnerships:

CATS Partnership

at the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway

The Iwokrama Canopy Walkway and Atta Rainforest Lodge is managed and operated by Community and Tourism Services, Inc. (CATS). CATS is a unique partnership formed between the Makushi community at Surama, Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, Rock View Lodge and Wilderness Explorers. The CATS partnership is a model of ecotourism that proves the tourism private sector, a conservation NGO, and an indigenous community can find joint economic success while providing local opportunity and an excellent experience for visitors from around the world.

Guide Training

preparing the new generation

The tourism sector in Guyana is still quite young, and we’re playing an active role in cultivating a new generation of leaders. Wilderness Explorers partners with the Guyana Tourism Authority to provide professional development courses for young people pursuing a career in tourism and hospitality. We also have hands-on relationships with the management teams at the community tourism projects at Warapoka, Rewa, and Surama where our staff provides hands-on marketing, management, operational, and administrative training support. We regularly hire apprentice guides to shadow our senior guides to give them a chance to learn the trade from local masters. And we work with ecotourism organizations in neighbouring countries to organize guide exchange programs.

Tourism Development

creating oppertunities

The North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) at Bina Hill is a centre for education, research, leadership, and entrepreneurship across Guyana’s interior. Wilderness Explorers works closely with the NRDDB to coordinate tour programs with tourism products created or sponsored by the NRDDB.

Wilderness Explorers has also operated several regional leadership programs at the NRDDB to promote greater cooperation and synergy in the nascent tourism sector, including a three-day seminar for more than 70 managers and workers from across the country interested in boosting the quality and awareness of their lodges and offerings.

Wildlife Clubs

supporting village education efforts

Our flights into the jungle employ reliable and safe – but small – single- and twin-engine craft such as the Cessna C206 (5-passenger), Britten-Norman Islander BN2 (8 passenger) or Cessna Caravan C208 (12-passenger) aircraft. If you’re lucky, you might even get to sit up front with the pilot! There is no need to remove your shoes and you surely won’t get scatter-scanned out on a dirt airstrip miles from civilization. But pack light! In Guyana, the weight limit for all of your belongings is strictly limited to 20 pounds (9kg) on scheduled internal flights and you will be asked to stand on a scale with your bags and all accessories before being allowed to board the aircraft. There are no exceptions.

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