Blackwater Adventures first to be HSSE-certified

Blackwater Adventures is the first tour company in Guyana to complete the Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) programme, conducted by the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Centre for Local Business Development.

Representatives of the agencies on Monday visited the tour company’s Berbice operations and conducted the final assessment.

Tamika Inglis Manager of Training and Licensing at the Guyana Tourism Authority

GTA’s Manager of Training and Licensing, Tamika Inglis said the reason for the programme is to raise the standard of tourism in Guyana, not only with hotel accommodations but also showing tour operators the importance of health and safety.

Dillon Ross and his wife Stephanie

“Blackwater Adventures would have been the one to go through the entire process and complete it. It is a lot of work… time-consuming and based on the schedules of the other tour operators, they were not able to finish all together. Inglis said while speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Akil Lewis, QHSSE Coordinator at the Centre for Local Business Development

The Centre for Local Business Development’s role is to provide mentorship to the tour operators free of cost.

Tubing in the Berbice River

HSSE Coordinator at the Centre for Local Business Development, Akil Lewis, explained that when the programme started in 2017 it targeted the oil and gas sector, However, now it is being tailored to suit other businesses, especially in the tourism sector.

Water exercise in the Berbice River

Businesses that benefit from the programme are certified for compliance with international requirements and best practices.

Blackwater Adventures is a family-owned and operated eco-based tour company that operates mostly in the Berbice River Canje area, Region Six.

Sightseeing at the Berbice River bridge

The company is owned by Dillion Ross and his wife Stephany. It focuses on custom tours, like sightseeing, sunset, fishing visiting historical sites in the area, or overnight trips.

Ross was surprised that he was the only one to complete the HSSE programme.

“It definitely raised the bar I would say, and I think in tourism there is a lot of do it at your own risk mentally, and I could speak for myself, I was definitely of that mindset initially, but this programme really mentored me and help me think outside of that before something bad happens, there is so many things that can just eliminate or mitigate the risk altogether and it was really helpful going through the programme, so was it hard? There’re definitely some challenges but it was worth it,” Ross said.

Dillon Ross of Black Water Adventures take the group on a tour

Dillon is very grateful for the support he received from the Guyana Tourism Authority and urges all tour operators to access resources of the GTA to improve their tour operations.

“Guyana Tourism Authority is very helpful. They were with us. We got started during covid and even during that time, the product development team, the licensing team, and the director themselves. They are all there to help and they know the other stuff as well, like to run a boat, what captain license do you need, what public liability insurance do you need, they can help you with all of that,” he stated.

Tour Operators who are interested in joining this programme are asked to make contact with the Guyana Tourism Authority.

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