Monday, February 6, 2023

Canada could be next country to waive visa requirements for new oil producer Guyana

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Partnerships between Guyanese businesses and their Canadian counterparts are on the increase. So, discussions have commenced for these trade relations to deepen with direct flights and visa-free travel for Guyanese. This was confirmed by Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mark Berman.

During an event to commemorate the visit of a Canadian trade mission currently in Guyana, Berman said there needs to be more direct flights.

“We are engaging with various carriers in Canada to talk to them about the opportunities here. But nothing yet has been finalised. We have been in talks with Air Canada and WestJet so far,” the High Commissioner stated.

Berman said there is increased Canadian travel to Guyana due to heightened business relations, and a large Guyanese diaspora in Canada that usually travels back home.

“I think this is a case we have been able to make to carriers… I am not in the airline industry, and I don’t know the factors they would have to take into consideration, but we have been trying to give them as much information as possible on these matters. They are looking at it nonetheless and we will see what their decision will be,” the High Commissioner stated.

As regards visa-free travel, he said the Guyana Government has advised that it would like to have such discussions and Ottawa authorities have been notified of this interest accordingly. While he acknowledged that the United Kingdom has waived the need for visas for visiting purposes, he said the Canadian visa policy is different.

The High Commissioner said, “Guyana is one of several countries which we have visa requirements for, but it is something we are looking at and we will make a determination.”

Canada is just the latest in Guyana’s hitlist of nations to pursue increased travel with, as its economic clout grows.

In the meantime, Guyana has initiated talks with Italy for visa-free travel. This was revealed on Monday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations. During a recent press conference, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali had conveyed that visa-free travel to one nation in the European Union would help Guyana gain a foothold in the continent.

Earlier this year, Guyana also signed an air services agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Guyana has high hopes for Saudia, the Kingdom’s national airline and the third largest airline in the Middle East, to establish Guyana as its foothold in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region.

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