Regional Workshop to Focus on Health Threats Affecting Tourism in the Caribbean

“Travel and tourism is the business of the Caribbean; however, outbreaks of communicable diseases and other health threats have resulted in closures of hotels and cruise ports, and significant losses in revenue. These threats seriously impact the health and safety of visitors and locals, and the sustainability of Caribbean tourism.” So said Dr C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).


Recognising the critical need for cross sectoral action to address these health and economic issues, CARPHA will host a historic high-level workshop to address the vulnerability of the Caribbean region to health, safety and environmental sanitation (HSE) threats. 


The Regional Tourism and Health Workshop will be held in Miami on October 4-5, 2017 with public and private health and tourism decision makers. Participants will include Chief Medical Officers and Permanent Secretaries of Tourism, and representatives from CARICOM, Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).  Delegates from international health and tourism agencies such the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Public Health Agency of England (PHE), and the travel Association, will also attend. 


The workshop will address threats which challenge the sustainability of Caribbean tourism, such as disease crises like Zika; deficiencies in food safety, and environmental sanitation.  It is expected to produce regional agreements on CARPHA’s Tourism and Health program (THP) early warning and response systems; and standardised regional guidelines to mitigate against and respond to tourism based health crises. Tourism and health partnerships, recognition tools and other mechanisms for promoting the health and safety of visitors and locals and enhancing the quality, competitiveness and reputation of Caribbean tourism, are also on the agenda. 


Dr Lisa Indar, Head, Tourism and Health Programme and Foodborne Diseases at CARPHA stated “It is critical for the Caribbean, more than any other region in the world, to be proactive and implement measures to mitigate against HSE threats to tourism. Our ability to monitor and respond in a rapid manner can help reduce the spread of diseases, negative publicity and reputational damage. It will also lead to a healthier, safer, more secure and reputable tourism product and more sustainable tourism.”  

Watch video of Dr James Hospedales speaking about CARPHA and the Tourism and Health Program (THP) here


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