Honorary Ambassadors of Tourism

In 2014, The Tourism and Hospitality Association presented the first annual “Honorary Ambassador of Tourism” Award.

Presenting the Honorary Ambassaors Award

Frequently we are asked about the impact that tourism has on our country and specifically how it impacts our indigenous communities in the interior.  We talk about the jobs ourindustry creates and the ability for fathers and mothers to remain at home, without having to migrate out of their village in order to earn an income.

Many tourists come to Guyana to discover the pristine interior.  When you visit Kaieteur the guides remind you that the only thing you are permitted to take away with you are your memories and the only thing you may leave behind are your footprints.  In some cases the impact of those foot prints on a community or an individual…. is life changing.

On November 20th, 2014, The Tourism Hospitality Association of Guyana in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority honored Ms. Catherine Kello and Mr. Mark Butler for their contribution and continued support by awarding them the distinction of “Honorary Tourism Ambassadors of Guyana.”In this specific case, we honored two very special people who came to see the birds of Guyana and fell in love with the people.  Catherine Kello and Mark Butler.  Two attorneys from Washington DC arrived in Guyana in 2010 as birders. Catherine was not at all sure why she was here…. I remember her saying, “I don’t know why I am here…. I am not an outdoor person, I don’t like bugs, I don’t like snakes, I don’t like spiders, and did I mention that I don’t like snakes?”  Her husband Mark, the most patience man in the world, said, “We are here because we love the birds”

They arrived as guests, but left as friends. They fell in love with what they discovered in Guyana and they began to do everything they could to support and help their new friends.  During their return trips, they adopted two Eco Resorts, Rewa Eco Lodge and Karanambu Lodge and their surrounding support villages. Catherine discovered LAPARKIN shipping service! And she learned how to pack and ship a Barrel! AND SHE DID! She named him “Bruce the Barrel”. When Bruce arrived in Georgetown, Catherine had already arranged for him to be sent by mini bus to Annai, from Annai by boat to Karanambu and from Karanambu by vehicle to the surrounding villages.

The children of Kwaimatta refer to Catherine and Mark as their angels.

Our Ambassadors returned to the Rupununi on November 21st for their 3rd visit. The children met their approaching boat with a joyous welcome song “WELCOME, WELCOME CATHERINE & MARK” which Head Mistress Iris had written especially for them.

Overwhelmed by Song!

Over their 12 days in The Rupununi there was tremendous excitement as “the Angels” spent time visiting in the communities. Catherine and Mark brought cardboard photo frames.  In Kwaimatta, the children personalized and decorated the frames while Catherine took individual pictures of each child.  The photographs were printed and inserted into the frames and presented to each child.

Every year at Karanambu the Lodge closes over the American Thanksgiving weekend to invite friends and colleagues who have been extraordinarily supportive over the past year.  It is a time to say “Thank you.” This year, Karanambu gave special thanks to our Honorary Ambassadors of Tourism who have made such a difference in the lives of those in the supporting communities.