Providenciales, TCI, September 28, 2016 – Turks and Caicos should be able to welcome in any kind of traveler and destination marketing should promote that fact, but before we get to promoting, we have to get to actually ensuring that we are an accessible destination. Tourism Minister, Hon Porsha Smith in a statement delivered on September 27, which was World Tourism Day said these islands should be able to provide a full experience for anyone visiting, including those who are wheelchair bound.
It was a very serious theme for World Tourism Day this year – “Tourism for All. Promoting Universal Accessibility” – calling on destinations to make sure there is accessibility so that any traveler is able to enjoy their travel experience.
TCI now has to step back and ask, ‘can a person in a wheelchair or an older person with a walking stick, for example, access our water sports, our beaches, our shops and shopping centers, can they easily maneuver in our restaurants and does our infrastructure support those who are physically hampered in any way?’ UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said ‘no,’ in his remarks of yesterday; that many nations have still not sufficiently addressed the issue of true accessibility.
“…while almost 1.2 billion people are travelling aboard each year, close to one billion persons with disability, along with young children, older persons and persons with other access requirements, still face obstacles in accessing the most basic travel needs such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate.”
The Tourism Minister expressed that she believes the TCI can get there though, her comments in that national address expressed this: “The Turks and Caicos Islands is a part of the global tourism move, as such, tourism should be attainable to all irrespective of a person’s physical limitation, disability or age, travel is for all to experience and embrace on an equal basis. It is therefore incumbent upon the Turks and Caicos Islands as one of the top travel destinations in the region to build upon, and improve on accessible tourism products and services; which will only place our country in an even better position as it relates to marketing. I am confident in the hospitality of our people, and as a country proud to welcome and engage visitors from all walks of life.”
Secretary General of Tourism for the United Nations, Taleb Rifai explained that the nations which take the time to enhance accessibility will become the dominant destinations, “… travelling has become a major part in many lives and with the world’s population ageing, everyone sooner or later will benefit from universal accessibility in tourism.”
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.
Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.
“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”
Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.
Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.
She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.
There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.
Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.
New Healthy Sail rules to ensure transparency and safety kick in, but not all Cruise Lines are on board
By Dana Malcolm
January 20, 2022 – The US Centers for Disease Control Cruise Sailing Order expired on Saturday January 15th and it means cruise lines will now be able to choose whether or not they want to participate. This “Healthy Sail” program is a set of guidelines for cruising which the CDC says will provide transparency about COVID management on ships.
Cruise lines which chose to participate in the “healthy sail” voluntary program will be subject to CDC guidelines. Cruise lines which opt out of the program will still have to adhere to masking mandates and report all COVID cases.
However, the ships opting out of the CDC Healthy Sail program, will not be required to make public their testing regimes for crew and passengers.
“There will be a lot of unknowns about what risk mitigation measures are being used on board because they will really be able to set their own protocols for testing of passengers and crew,” said Aimee Treffiletti, CDC representative to USA Today.
Naturally, this raises several questions about whether these ships will be required to make onboard protocols and findings public to ports of call.
Up to Monday, Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines had opted into the program. Noticeably absent from the roll call: Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.
Shocking changes in UK COVID strategy as demands intensify for PM Johnson’s resignation
By Dana Malcolm
#UnitedKingdom, January 20, 2022 – In a shocking twist Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that come Thursday January 20, the United Kingdom will no longer mandate the National Health Services pass for use in public spaces and offices.
Residents will no longer be mandated to work from home which could see hundreds of thousands of workers returning to shared office spaces. Face masks will no longer be government mandated for residents or in classrooms, the announcement was met with screams of joy from gathered politicians in the House of Commons.
Meanwhile omicron still manages to evade vaccines and boosters and Pfizer is scrambling to create a vaccine to temper the variant, which reportedly presents as milder in vaccinated individuals.
The news comes as trouble is brewing in the United Kingdom for Prime Minister Boris Johnson even after his shock announcement ending several COVID-19 protocols early this week. Calls for the Prime Minister to leave office have grown louder and louder with even senior conservatives turning their backs on Johnson.
It was said the softening of restrictions were to distract from the Prime Minister ‘bring your own booze’ staff party held at #10 Downing Street during the lockdown of 2020.
One Senator publicly switched sides and a former Minister told Johnson “in the name of God go.”
Johnson is accused of flagrantly touting the rules he himself out into place while fellow Britons were suffering during lockdown.
The BBC reports that so far six Conservative MPs have publicly declared no confidence in the PM, but more are thought to have submitted letters to that effect.
If Johnson does not step down or regain his party’s faith, a leadership election in the Conservative party could be looming on the horizon.
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