Castries – The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) said it has reached an agreement with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to implement the agency’s Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP) health center based in Trinidad.
The Saint Lucia-based OECS Commission said the sub-regional grouping is committed to supporting the implementation of the THP and has since formalized its collaboration by signing a letter of agreement last Friday.
“As tourism dependent nations, this initiative is essential to optimize recovery efforts and promote the OECS as a healthier and safer destination as countries reopen to tourism. This process with CARPHA began in 2017 with the approval of the OECS Council of Health Ministers and was subsequently supported by the OECS Council of Tourism Ministers in 2018, ”said the Director General of the OECS. ‘OECS, Dr Didacus Jules.
“It is important to note that our modus operandi is to work transversally. The approval of the two ministerial councils was an important principle to ensure the effectiveness of the initiative. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the critical importance of program implementation. We congratulate Saint Lucia for being the first OECS country to fully engage in the implementation process, ”he added.
Besides Saint Lucia, the OECS includes the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.
The OECS Commission said THP should support a travel and tourism product “safe, secure and providing an authentic and meaningful experience for travelers to the region while protecting the health and well-being of the locals.”
He said the program should align the private sector with robust common standards to ensure the safety of its workforce and travelers, making the sector more responsive to the new ‘COVID-19 normal’, as well as to emerging health threats.
This includes healthier, safer and better quality tourism products and destinations, increased capacity for food security, health and environmental sanitation as well as an early warning and surveillance system. real-time tourism response (THiS) at industry level to avoid and reduce the spread of diseases and negative publicity and increase in reputation, comparative advantage, therefore commercialization of travel and tourism in the OECS.
THP supports the livelihoods of thousands of people and helps improve the safety, quality, competitiveness, reputation, resilience and sustainability of Caribbean tourism, ”said the Director of Surveillance, Prevention and Management. CARPHA disease control, Indar.
“People need to be assured that when the traffic light system changes, they can choose a healthier and safer option when coming to the Caribbean,” she added.
The OECS Commission said the THP addresses threats to sustainable tourism in the Caribbean through an integrated approach combining surveillance, capacity building, health, safety and environmental standards. as well as a healthy workforce and recognition.
“This is a strong, measurable and verifiable traveler health insurance and recognition award for tourism entities and destinations that implement THP’s proactive tourism health measures. The stamp has received support from the Caribbean Association for Health and Tourism (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Association (CTO), ”according to a statement from the OECS Commission.
He said that across the sub-region, THP now has over 670 registered tourism facilities with 6,662 tourism sector workers trained in CARPHA’s COVID-19 guidelines for reopening Caribbean tourism and travel; and 59 establishments received the HST stamp. (CMC)