The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) stands with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and other international and regional tourism partners, in celebration of World Tourism Day 2021 – Tourism for Inclusive Growth.
World Tourism Day is observed annually on 27 September.
Tourism is key to Caribbean livelihood. CARPHA, through its Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP), remains committed to promoting Healthier, Safer Tourism (HST) in the Caribbean as an essential mechanism for tourism resilience and recovery, growth, and sustainability in the Caribbean. HST, amidst adverse public health events, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, continues to be of utmost importance in recuperating from the devastating economic and social impacts that Caribbean travel and tourism continue to face.
The THP is an innovative program that addresses the health, safety, and environmental sanitation threats to tourism through novel, versatile regional tools, such as the real time travellers’ early warning surveillance systems, capacity building, standards, guidelines, policies, partnerships, and the unique Caribbean Travellers’ Health Assurance Stamp for HST, and the Caribbean Travellers Health App. These regional tools aim to enhance visitors and locals’ health and safety and thereby tourism growth, resilience, and sustainability. The HST stamp is a measurable and verifiable stamp only given to tourism accommodation or services that re implementing proactive health measures (training, illness monitoring, standards). Travellers now have the added assurance of choosing a preferred healthier safer destination.
Dr. Lisa Indar, Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control, CARPHA notes, “It is critical that health is seen as a major driver for tourism and incorporated in international regional and national tourism strategies. Health and tourism officials must work together for harmonized protocols to safeguard the health of populations and visitors as well as to promote arrivals.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that Health is crucial for tourism. Joint strategy, protocols, policy, communication and coordination between health and tourism starting from the highest levels to the implementation phases are indispensable measures for promoting tourism growth. Travellers are now demanding a healthier, safer option, in addition to sun, sand and sea.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA, states, “CARPHA works closely with partners such as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) since 2016, and such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Global Tourism Resilience Center (GTRCMC), Centres for Disease Control and Public Health Agency of Canada to ensure collaborative, harmonized protocols for healthier safer tourism, inclusive of a CARICOM joint tourism policy for safer return to tourism during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
CARPHA reminds the tourism community to get vaccinated and be proactive through COVID-19 health measures of wearing a mask, social distancing, hand hygiene and avoiding crowds to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.