The Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development (Iwokrama) has received two awards at the Visit Rupununi awards ceremony held at Lethem on Saturday last.
In a statement, Iwokrama said it is grateful for this recognition by Visit Rupununi for Best Lodge 2023 (Iwokrama River Lodge) and Best Cook 2023 (Iwokrama’s Chef Colin Browne).
The Centre has been serving guests for almost 25 years and these awards are testament to the hard work, commitment and dedication of Iwokrama’s staff almost all of whom come from the surrounding local indigenous communities. Over the years Iwokrama has built capacity in many residents of the North Rupununi area in various tourism and other related disciplines. Tourism training includes tour guiding, rangering, drivers and boat captains, hospitality and food and beverage amongst others.
Colin Browne is a professionally trained Chef who has served Iwokrama for almost 17 years and is known for his culinary skills throughout the region and country. The tourism team is led by veteran Tourism Manager Michael Patterson for almost eight years and who is also a highly trained Iwokrama Ranger.
Iwokrama has also been helping develop community tourism operations both on the coast and in the hinterland through support from ExxonMobil Foundation and other donors.
To support the tourism thrust by the Government of Guyana through the Low Carbon Development Strategy, the Centre will be investing in more accommodation facilities and new products in 2024 and beyond. Already new tours for fishing and hiking have been launched in 2023 with the support of the Guyana Tourism Authority and a biking tour is currently in development. The Centre also plans to roll out a health and wellness facility, including a yoga Centre.
The Centre achieved Good Travel Seal Certification for its tourism operations in 2023 and recently retained international certification for its sustainable forestry operations.