The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has announced the appointment of Carla James as its director beginning May 1, 2020. James will succeed the current director, Brian T. Mullis, following the conclusion of his two-year contract on April 30, 2020.
James, an Akawaio, who is a native of Kamarang Village in the Upper Mazaruni Region (Region 7) Guyana, was unanimously identified as the superior and most suitable candidate at the end of a rigorous four-stage selection process conducted by the agency’s board of directors. Her appointment also marks a pivotal moment in the GTA’s 18-year history as she becomes the first indigenous woman to assume the role—a fact, according to the GTA, to be noted by social historians and celebrated by indigenous peoples and women of all ethnicities throughout Guyana.
“Ms. James is uniquely qualified to lead Destination Guyana as our new Director of tourism,” said Donald Sinclair, the chair of the board of directors of the Guyana Tourism Authority. “In her, we have found a leader who is not only professionally well-versed in our destination and industry sector, but someone with tremendous national pride and heritage, both of which are essential components for strengthening our tourism strategy going forward.”
In the capacity as the director, James will lend a breadth of managerial and industry experience, with a proven track record for institutional strengthening, financial management, and destination planning, marketing and management, spanning 19 years in her professional career. As graduate of President’s College, James began her career in 2001 as a research assistant at what was then the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce. In 2003, she made the move to the Guyana Tourism Authority and joined the team as a statistics and research officer. In the following years, she has held the positions of senior statistics and research officer, marketing manager, logistics manager and personal assistant to the director of the authority, and most recently, the deputy director.
The new director will assume leadership during what is easily the most severe and dynamic time for the global tourism industry. Her task will be to lead her team through the implementation of an industry recovery strategy, building on what has been established over the last years and pivoting based on the travel industry’s new normal.
Despite the challenges ahead to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, the Guyana Tourism Authority says it remains optimistic that the foundation of interest in Guyana will prevail as travelers seek out more sustainable and enriching ways to explore the world later into 2020 and beyond.