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PARAMARIBO–That tour company METS Travel & Tours in Suriname (METS) stayed afloat and cruising for fifty years now, is, to its Managing Director Armand Bhagwandas more than just a feat that should be celebrated elaborately. “Our anniversary shows that Suriname has something to offer,” he said. Celebrating its company’s 50th year on January 13th, METS embarks on a year of activities to spur awareness locally and internationally about its products. Bhagwandas mentioned open houses, special package deals at METS resorts, and educational activities. At the same time the company also gets ready to develop a new set of products to meet market demand. Construction of the airport hotel near Colakreek and diversification of the markets, including further development of the cruise market are high on the agenda.
AT THE CRADLE
Whether consciously is not sure, but when METS was established on January 13th 1962, this company probably stood at the cradle of what today is the buzz term “eco-tourism”. Back then it resorted under the then Ministry of Economic Affairs, with a policy aimed at developing tourism and as its primary task managing the various Government lodges where civil servants were housed when on assignment in the hinterland. “There actually is not much known about what the company did till 1985, but that there was a tourism vision behind it, is clear. This was around the same time Hotel Torarica and Surinam Airways were established,” Bhagwandas relates.
Back then a young re-migrant who had studied at the Hotel School in The Netherlands, Bhagwandas was hired in the eighties at the Ministry as Head of Tourism. METS, which had slumbered on for years, was reactivated in 1985 and started offering tours to the lodges at Blakawatra and Stoelmanseiland.
In the most remote part of the upper Gran Rio River area in the Suriname rainforest, about 12 participants from 6 villages recently gathered for one week of intensive training in making handmade body scrubs, bath soaps and massage oils. This unspoiled part of the rainforest is home to the Samacca tribe, descendants of runaway slaves with their roots firmly in Africa. They harvest nuts from from palm trees in the rainforest, each with significant substances which contribute to wellness products that can be classified as the best in the world.
These products are used at the Spa and offered to the guests of Awarradam Jungle lodge where METS runs a back-to-back full board tour program each Monday and Friday to this pristine area. Besides direct help by air transport to the schoolteachers and school materials, research has made clear that METS provides direct income to almost each family in this remote area of the rainforest by providing regular tourists who buy local souvenirs, and weekly payment to several cultural groups for their dance performance and the elderly people for their demonstrations at the village sightseeing tours and income by buying of local produced vegetables plus a financial contribution of each tour to the village account.
When guests travel with METS travel & Tours they directly support a true sustainable tourism organization. METS started her first tour on September 17th 1992, witch establish a history of almost 20 years. The company marks its 50th anniversary on January 13th 2012 and has laid out an extensive celebratory program, which will be highlighted in DevSur soon.
With over 80 percent of its original forest untouched, Suriname is famous for its dedication to nature preservation. The interior consists of a magnificent nature with towering, wide, meandering rivers with impressive rapids and enchanting sounds at night; all of this forms part of the Amazon rainforest. Suriname located at the middle of the Guyana shield in between former British Guyana en French Guyana is often also called: “The Green Caribbean”.
(METS press release)
UTRECHT, The Netherlands--Suriname Airways (SLM), tourism organization METS Travel and Tours and Residence Inn Hotels have announced a 3=2 vacation package, available at the Vacation Fair which opens on January 12th in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
“Buy three tickets and only pay for two. This special is temporary and there are only limited seats available,” the companies announced on the website of Dutch tourism journalists and PR people. The package includes a METS Jungle tour, hotel stay and a return ticket. “This is unique opportunity to visit Suriname, experience nature and be pampered at a stylish hotel,” they advertised.
The Vacation Fair is held at the indoor Fair Grounds in Utrecht and attracts thousands of people annually. Suriname, this year at stand D44 in Hall 1, is present every year to promote its tourism product. “If you’re adventurous, indulge in a jungle trip in the inlands with METS. But if you’re a tourist who values a luxury and comfort, your wishes are demands at the stylish Residence Inn Hotel, located on the outskirts of Paramaribo with a view of the Suriname River,” the statement said.
It hinted that Suriname has invested heavily in its tourism infrastructure in recent years, with new hotels, restaurants and guesthouses popping up all over the country. Paramaribo nightlife is dynamic; the town features many restaurants, discos and casino’s, open till late to ensure good fun. “National airline SLM arranged smooth flights, so your vacation actually starts once you embark the Airbus A340-300.”
PARAMARIBO, Suriname–Travel and tourism organization METS has revealed plans to build an airport hotel near the Johan Adolf Pengel (JAP) Airport at Zanderij. Director Armand Bhagwandas says that this is an old idea that should have been realized years ago.
The hotel will be built at Cola Kreek, a swimming spot located in the middle of nature, at a short distance from the airport. “The hotel will be able to accommodate passengers transferring at the JAP Airport or passengers who are in Suriname for just a day or two,” Bhagwandas said, emphasizing that it is definitely not the intention to compete against other existing hotels in the country. “It’s all about the comfort of the passenger,” he said.
He hinted that a passenger transiting at the airport most likely does not want to undertake the one-hour, 50 kilometer drive to Paramaribo, but currently he has no choice. The airport hotel is supposed to fill that void. “Aside from our hotel, we’ll also set up arrangements for passengers to pass their transit time in the area,” Bhagwandas said.
Established in 1962, METS operates several tourism resorts and hotels in Suriname, among which Cola Creek and the Residence Hotels in Paramaribo and Nieuw Nickerie.