Ministry of Health/Ministry of Tourism
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Thursday, July 14, 2016
The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Caribbean Integrated Public Health Agency (CARPHA) are excited to launch the Tourism Health and Safety Program (THP) to protect the health and well-being of visitors and locals.
This is part of a regional tourism and health project, jointly funded by a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aimed at protecting and enhancing the health and well-being of its visitors and locals, thereby promoting sustainable and profitable tourism in the Caribbean.
The Bahamas is one of six participating countries involved in the initiative, which aims to provide cost-effective and quality health services, food safety and environmental sanitation solutions to health, safety and environmental sanitation threats impacting sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said the Ministry fully supports the initiative.
“I believe that we only stand to benefit from ensuring that our guests are healthy and protected,” he said.
“With tourists being much more conscious about their health when they travel it is important that we take steps to ensure that they not only feel safe, but have health facts readily available about our country.
“We’re excited about participating in any health based program. It shows that we take our guests’ needs seriously.”
The workshop and training for the program began at the British Colonial Hilton on Monday.
The genesis of the project lies in the fact that the health of Caribbean economies, including The Bahamas, are closely related to the health of its tourism industry given that the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world.
Enhancing sustainable tourism will promote economic development, poverty eradication and improvement of quality of life in The Bahamas.
Up to July 2015 The Bahamas recorded 512,215 air and sea arrivals.
For the 2014/2015 cruise year, which encompassed the period May 2014 to April 2015, 3.93 million cruise passengers and crew members visited The Bahamas, according to a study conducted by the Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA).
As a result, over 7,000 jobs paying $138 million in wages were added to the Bahamian economy, the report stated.
It cannot be overstated how important the industry is for the country.
The key benefit of this project will be fewer outbreaks and other negative public health events occurring in the tourism industry.
This will promote a healthier, safer, more reputable tourism product on the global stage and for both visitors and locals.
Another major benefit will be an innovative, regional tourism health information, monitoring and response (THMR) system for both stop-over and cruise ship visitors.
This proposal will also strengthen human resource capacity and skills in health, food safety, and environmental management and promote public-private sector inter-sectoral partnerships at national and regional levels.
CARPHA is the Caribbean Integrated Public Health Agency, serving 24 member Caribbean countries and territories. CARPHA is mandated by Heads of Government to prevent disease, promote health and respond to public health emergencies. CARPHA in partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) established Regional THP in January 2014. The goal of the regional THP is to enhance the health and safety of visitors and locals and the quality and sustainability of the Caribbean tourism industry, thereby contributing to the industry being more competitive, resilient and sustainable.