The Tourism Development Company Ltd in collaboration with its tourism stakeholders, hosted the launch of the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism and Health Program (THP) on Friday 23rd September, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad. The launch of the THP signaled the implementation of the Inter-American Development Bank-funded “Regional Tourism Health Information, Monitoring and Response System” in Trinidad and Tobago.
With the Caribbean Public Health Agency (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 program comes at a time when Trinidad and Tobago faces 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.
Following the official launch, a sensitization session was held with tourism accommodation providers, whose buy-in is required for the success of the program.
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
From September 28th – 30th, Food and Beverage Managers at leading restaurants and hotels along with Public Health Inspectors, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, the Tourism Development Company and the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards participated in an internationally-accredited, two-day advanced food safety training and certification workshop.
The Tourism and Health Program 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 a Private-Public Teams in each country.