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Published on : Saturday, July 2, 2016
The Tourism Health and Safety Programme (THP) was developed in collaboration with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Integrated Public Health Agency (CARPHA) as part of a regional tourism and health project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The Bahamas is one of six participating countries involved in the initiative, which aims to provide cost-effective and quality health, food safety and environmental sanitation solutions to health, safety and environmental sanitation threats impacting sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.
“I believe that we only stand to benefit from ensuring that our guests are healthy and protected. 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,” said Tourism Minister, Obie Wilchcombe.
“We’re excited about participating in any health based program. It shows that we take our guests needs seriously,” he added.
CARPHA in partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) established Regional THP in January 2014.
A statement from the Ministry of Tourism said that 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, it said, noting that up to July 2015 the Bahamas recorded 512,215 air and sea arrivals.
For the 2014/2015 cruise year, 3.93 million cruise passengers visited the Bahamas, according to a study conducted by the Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA), noting that as a result, more than 7,000 jobs paying US$138 million in wages were added to the Bahamian economy.
“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,” the statement said.