Tour agencies vs tour operators in Guyana
Here’s something you need to know: the difference between tour agents and tour operators.
Guyana is no stranger to the tourism agency. Although, compared to other countries, it has a long way to go tourism-wise, there are still plenty of Guyanese trying to get a piece of those highly valued $, £, and €. So, to state what shouldn’t need to be said for the sake of being thorough:
- A tour operator: owns the boats, planes, boats etc. and employs the guides. They have their own offices and market tours themselves.
- A tour agent: books you on an aforementioned tour and tacks on a hefty commission. In Guyana, it will likely be unclear what you’re booking unless you ask. After all, it’s in the middleman’s best interest to keep it secret that they can be bypassed.
At the end of the day, you’ll find dozens of possible leads for tours. Here’s the down and dirty for flights to Kaieteur Falls:
- Good choices: owner/operators of aircraft — the best rule of thumb is that if they’re trying to sell you a flight to Kaieteur Falls, try to find an image of a plane with their name on it.
- Air Services Limited: operates a fleet of 24 planes, mostly dedicated to domestic flights to interior Guyana, but they do some tours.
- Trans Guyana Airways/Evergreen Adventures: operates a fleet of 8 planes with scheduled service to interior Guyana. Owned by Correia Group of Companies which includes Evergreen Adventures (a tour company branch) and Baganara Island Resort.
- Roraima Airways: owns a fleet of 3 planes which are dedicated to tourism and private charters. The Roraima Group of Companies is another large “conglomerate” that owns two hotels in Georgetown: Duke Lodge and Residence Inn. They also own ArrowPoint Nature Resort, operate the only lounge at Cheddai Jeggan airport and handle much of the ground services at the airport (baggage, fuel, gate attendants etc..)
- Air Guyana: Operates 2 Cessna Caravan planes (one looks brand new, too!) with charter flights to interior Guyana and adjacent countries. I can’t confirm that the tours they advertise to Kaieteur Falls are on their aircraft or if they try to sub it out, but, they do, in fact, own their own airplanes. Link to site here.
From what I can tell, booking through ANY of the following companies to Kaieteur Falls will result in a middleman/agent scenario:
- Kanuku Tours
- Rainforest Tours
- Wilderness Explorers
- Wonderland Tours