The Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) is seeking initiatives to establish tourism hotspots at key locations, to address the large influx of tourists that enter the region on a daily basis.President of the CCI, Halim KhanThis was related by the President of the CCI, Halim Khan, who told this publication on Monday of the list of projects which the committee is processing and will be proposing shortly. The flagship project is the modification of the Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling and advanced facilities for tourists with the inclusion of a souvenir and artisan centre, food courts, and two adjoining boardwalks which will lead to the water-taxi hub.He noted that this project is necessary since the Stelling is the main gateway to visit resorts and other destinations in the Essequibo River and neighbouring places.“Because of the fact that the region is a gateway to the Essequibo and the other islands, we are now proposing to have some initiatives in place to promote tourism. At the Stelling, we will be proposing to have additional features which will boost the Region’s economy. We feel that this location is an ideal place to start, because a lot of people enter through there and then divert to other places, like Bartica and Baganara and so on,” Khan said.He added, “The boardwalk at the northern side will be 12 feet in width, and also (there will be) one on the eastern side from east to west. We will have a platform there also, so that when people enter with the water-taxi, they would not get wet. We want to establish facilities where foreigners can have local fruit drinks and other items, and they can also visit a craft store to buy Guyanese merchandises and souvenirs. A brochure of places that they can go to is also another thing.”He indicated that special attention would be given to the type of transportation that is designated for tourists. This will be done by ensuring that drivers are allocated to specifically transport tourists.“We want to have special taxis and put a tourist booth there with special uniformed taxi (operators). They would be responsible for assisting the tourists with whatever place they want to go. In terms of maintenance, we are looking forward to having the taxis pay a fee every month, which will go into other works and sustaining the facility,” he said.The roadway from Vreed-en-Hoop to Parika is also on the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce. They say that maintenance activities are timely and the construction of hangout spots along the highway.“So the Stelling is currently the flagship project and we want to have other locations along the way to Parika maintained, and other things which can attract people. Some areas were identified. For the recent road that was rehabilitated (that leads to Parika), it is a model road and we hope that it is kept that way. What we want to see is that the sidewalks should remain as it is and bushes should not be growing to take over the road,” he said.Khan notified that he is cognisant that these projects would each bear a hefty cost, and hence the Region is looking to engage public and private stakeholders who share similar interests. The Public Infrastructure Ministry had also indicated that the much-awaited rehabilitation of the stelling will commence shortly. The Committee noted that this will aid in the essential modification of the structure, after which the other features can be constructed.