The launch of the THP signalled the implementation of the Inter-American Development Bank-funded “Regional Tourism Health Information, Monitoring and Response System” in Trinidad and Tobago. With CARPHA as the guiding agency behind its development, the THP is designed to address the health, safety and environmental (HSE) threats that impact on sustainable tourism in the Caribbean. It includes:
• A regional tourism health information, surveillance, monitoring and response system to facilitate early warning and responses
• A set of credible Caribbean–wide HSE tourism standards with accompanying certification
• A training program to build capacity in food and environmental safety
The programme comes at a time when the region and country face risks of mosquito-borne disease epidemics that could negatively impact the tourism industry. Additionally, according to CARPHA, over the past 15 years, the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago has experienced an increase in disease outbreaks at tourist-based hotels, with negative impacts on the tourism industry. Rapid detection and expert management, including crisis communications, can reduce economic damage, job losses, closures, and negative publicity. These preventative efforts can result in fewer and less costly outbreaks, thereby improving the quality, competitiveness and sustainability of the Caribbean tourism product. The main expected benefit of the THP is the enhanced health, safety and security of tourism facilities, and thus the sustainability of the long-term image and reputation of Trinidad and Tobago as a Tourism Destination.
The key stakeholders for the project in Trinidad and Tobago are:
• Tourism Development Company
• Ministry of Tourism
• Tobago House of Assembly
• Ministry of Health
• Trinidad Hotels Restaurants and Tourism Association
• Caribbean Public Health Agency (project implementer)
• Inter-American Development Bank (project funder)
• Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Association
Following the official launch, a sensitisation session was held with tourism accommodation providers, whose buy-in is required for the successful monitoring and surveillance. Advanced Food Safety Training is also planned for food and beverage managers within the tourism accommodation sector next week.
The project is being implemented from 2016-2018 in 6 countries (Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago) with assistance from CARPHA in collaboration with CTO and CHTA, Regional Project Steering Committee along with National Focal Points and Private/Public Teams in each country.