The Chief Medical Officer of Saint Lucia, Dr Sharon Belmar-George, represented the island at the third Regional Tourism and Health Steering Committee and Stakeholders Meeting of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). CARPHA hosted the event in the Bahamas on April 24th, 2023.
During the event, The CMO presented on the Tourism and Health Programme (THP) status in Saint Lucia. She explained, “The THP program in Saint Lucia has allowed for greater stakeholder interaction between the Ministry of Health and Tourism and increased collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the hospitality industry.
Through this programme, the stakeholders witnessed:
- Greater awareness of the benefits of instituting public health measures within the hospitality and service industry,
- Decreased incidence of illnesses that are characteristic to this sector
- The provision of certification and training improves service delivery standards and quality
CARPHA has executed the Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP). It is an innovative program addressing the health, food safety and environmental sanitation threats to tourism. Through this initiative, they intend to strengthen the capacity of countries to prepare and respond to public health threats. The programme will enhance the health and safety of nationals and visitors. The objective is to improve the tourism sector’s quality, competitiveness and resilience.
“Saint Lucia launched the THP program in September 2021 and has since enlisted 64 registered entities. Meanwhile, They built capacity in COVID-19/Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, with 1,253 individuals across Health and Tourism receiving training. Additionally Dr Belmar-George said, “The country achieved increased awareness and reduced population risk through receiving Cruise Ship Alerts for COVID-19. The cruise ships sent 98% of alerts in less than 24 hours.
Additionally, Dr Sharon Belmar-George shared that 13 local facilities received the HST. (Caribbean Travelers Health Assurance Award for Healthier Safer Tourism).
The authorities convened the CARPHA’s third Regional Tourism and Health Steering Committee and Stakeholders Meeting to facilitate the stakeholders’ review of the outcomes and impact of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded regional Tourism Health Information Monitoring and Response Systems and Standards to Enhance Sustainable Tourism (THMRS).
Additionally, the government is utilizing sustainable financing for continued implementation of the THP and consultations on enhancing advocacy and promotion to encourage THP recognition, performance and impact.
Apart from the regional Chief Medical Officers, the Minister for Health and Wellness of the Bahamas, Hon. Dr Michael Darville, Corporate Director of Resorts Operations, Mr Jeremy Jones, representatives from the Caribbean Tourism Association, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and UK Health Security Agency were also in attendance.