In a recent Caribbean Tourism Organisation round-table discussion with the UK travel trade, Dr Lisa Indar shared how the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has been completing unique collaborative work to implement the Traveller’s Health Program ensuring tourism can return to the region safely.
Following on from the UK government’s recent traffic light update, which saw the addition of Caribbean green list destinations for the first time since the system was implemented. Caribbean Public Health official Dr Lisa Indar is shedding light on how the region is taking new steps to ensure the safety of tourists and residents.
It has been a while since tourism has been allowed to stretch to the Caribbean. But the latest government announcement has put white-sand beaches and azure waters back on the menu for summer.
But what have the Caribbean governments been doing to ensure a safe return to tourism on the enchanting islands?
As of 30 June nine Caribbean destinations were added to the UK’s green travel list. Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat and Turks & Caicos have all seen their status change from amber to green.
With those changes coming into effect and more bookings for sun & sea piling in, Dr. Indar tells us how the Caribbean has been prepping.
Talking with Travel Weekly, off the back of the discussion with the UK trade this week, Dr. Indar made it clear the region’s approach to plotting a safe return for tourism has been a collaborative effort that saw the application of the brand new Traveller’s Health Programme (THP).
Dr Indar said:
One of the ways we have been implementing a safe return is through our regional tourism and health program. This is unique because it’s the private sector, public tourism sector and a public health agency coming together to address health and safety and environmental threats to tourism by providing a real-time system of monitoring and response
The result of the collaboration has seen the implementation of a stamp system called the “Traveller’s Health Assurance Stamp”. Whereby resorts and other tourism-driven businesses are awarded a stamp to signify they have passed the rigorous testing required for welcoming tourists in a safe and sensible manner.
Along with the new stamping system the new CARPHA app has been made available which Dr Indar believe will act as a “one-stop-shop to see the list of the hotels and other tourism facilities that have the stamp”. The app will also make clear the differing measures for each country and any requirements around vaccinations and testing.
The plan, going forwards, is that the app will also keep track of passenger ships that have gained stamp accreditation.
Blazing a trail
There’s no doubt that the new app and Traveller’s Health Program are ensuring the Caribbean stays ahead of the game when it comes to ensuring the safety of its visitors and residents.
But, as Dr Indar points out: “Globally, there have been more than 176 million cases [of COVID-19], but in the Caribbean, our numbers are low. For Carpha’s 26 member states (English-speaking countries), it’s 202,688, and overall, across the Caribbean, it’s 869,351.”
She puts the region’s success in battling infections down to the strength of their proactivity:
“These low numbers are a reflection of early border closures, because there were countries that closed before Covid hit.”
Time to travel
The combination of the Caribbean’s robust response to the pandemic and their tireless work since to ensure a safe return of tourism has yielded the best possible response. A summer return to safe travel
Now they can only hope, as the airport doors get flung open again, that a successful summer period awaits.