Eco-tourism marketThe Surama Eco-Lodge, in the North Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), is slated to undergo further development in the coming year.In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Senior Village Councillor Anthony Andries disclosed that plans and discussions have already begun for the implementation of these upgrades.Sleeping quarters at the Surama Eco-LodgeAndries noted that Surama currently has 10 programmes for visitors to the Eco-Lodge. He explained one of the strategies would involve developing a package that catered to specific clients such as “the more adventurous; the ones that would like to do things like cross-country hiking – we have never done that so we want to do a roundabout, like a five to six days hiking”.A view of the morning sky at the Surama Eco-LodgeAccording to the DPI, the Surama Village Council is currently in discussions with tour companies from Brazil and Trinidad about the packages the community has to offer to tourists from their respective countries.Andries disclosed that plans were on stream to further rehabilitate the current facility in 2018. There will be new additions to the Lodge to accommodate more persons. “We are not going to go too big, but we want to have it at a level which will be more beneficial to us.”Over the past year, the service at the Eco-Lodge has improved with the installation of a 24-hour solar power system.Emphasis is also placed on the training of staff which will remain a top priority. “Our service and hospitality is something that will definitely bring our visitors back and there is always room for improvement in that area,” he noted.The Indigenous community of Surama is situated on five square miles of savannah land in the North Rupununi. It is surrounded by forest, hills and the Pakaraima mountain range. The residents are mainly Makushi.Interestingly, the name Surama (originally Shuramata) means the place of spoiled barbecue (or where barbecue spoiled). It was derived following a tribal conflict between the Makushi and Carib people many years ago.