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TCHTA Adopts 30 Coral Reefs in Commemoration of 30 Years

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#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2022 – The Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) has embarked on a robust calendar of initiatives in 2022, memorializing its 30 years of service to the industry as a non-profit organization.

The month of November – TCI’s Tourism Environmental Awareness Month (TEAM) – sees the association involved in their signature “Hello Tourist” program plus a donation to the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund’s “Adopt a Coral” program. On Monday, November 21st, TCHTA’s CEO, Stacy Cox, and Sustainable Tourism Committee Chair, Mona Beeson, presented a cheque for $2000.00 to TCRF Director Alizee Zimmermann. As a result, the TCHTA has officially adopted 30 corals to commemorate its 30th anniversary.

For years, water sports operators, avid scuba divers, and stakeholders have pointed out that the vibrant reef we know so well has begun to see some marked deterioration. This has been due to both climactic and weather events, but also due to human negligence. The issue is not just a local one, but a global occurrence. Naturally, development, overfishing, and added pressure from the growing visiting population lend to this problem, and mitigation is needed to save our reefs.

Enter the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund’s RESCQ (Restoration of Ecosystem Services and Coral Reef Quality) effort. In 2014, the foundation began installing in-water coral farms. The farms are home to multiple coral ladders and two large rope nursery structures growing endangered staghorn corals at dive sites at Northwest Point. Staghorn is one of two primary reef-building corals in the Caribbean that White Band Disease has nearly wiped out. The farms allow fragments of these corals to be harvested, maintained, and later transplanted to reef sites for repopulating damaged areas.

For many years, The TCHTA’s Sustainable Tourism Committee has played an integral part in promoting sustainable practices through its member efforts and work with industry partners.  There is a rich history of collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR), the National Trust, and the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF).

Committee Chair Beeson says that Sustainability is a tenant of the association’s work, and the donation is a gesture of the TCHTA’s continued commitment to the environment, the care for the islands, and the country’s tourism product. “This donation is quite meaningful for us as an organization. We have worked very hard over the years to champion efforts centered around maintaining the beauty of this country, both land, and sea. We take our committee’s mandate very seriously, as we know just how careful we must be with the fragile ecosystem we are fortunate to enjoy.” Beeson continued, “The Reef Foundation’s work is critical, and we are proud to support this initiative. Today’s efforts will ensure that the TCI we all love is here for future generations to enjoy.”

The association’s Sustainable Tourism efforts have a long, successful history. Their bi-annual TCI Shines event is in its 13th year and sees TCHTA member resorts and businesses dispatching teams to conduct clean-ups. The effort is magnified with the engagement of community groups who are provided with garbage bags, gloves, and water by the TCHTA to participate in the exercise. In addition, school competitions, reef-safe sunscreen research, deployment of garbage receptacles throughout the island, and the “no plastic straws” campaign have been a part of the organization’s efforts. The Adopt a Coral donation will mark the second 30-year focused item for the Sustainable Tourism committee, the first being planting 30 juvenile Mighty Mahogany plants throughout the islands for Earth Day 2022.

Also present for the official donation, TCHTA Stacy Cox shared her excitement, “The work carried out by the Reef Foundation has a significant impact on our islands and our ability to maintain what people marvel at and come to enjoy when they visit our destination. This will certainly not be the last collaboration between the TCHTA and the TCRF as we work collectively to preserve the beauty and vitality of our country’s natural treasures.”.

The TCRF is expanding its nurseries to the beloved and heavily visited snorkel site of Coral Gardens in Grace Bay, allowing visitors and residents alike to experience the world of growing corals. All this is accessible from the beach and on snorkel.

Accepting the donation, TCRF Executive Director Alizee Zimmermann said, “With one ladder already installed, the support of the TCHTA in adopting 30 corals for its 30th anniversary is allowing us to install a 2nd ladder here. A huge success for accessibility to coral restoration! We are so grateful for the support shown by the TCHTA and excited to see these corals grow and be ‘planted’ back onto the natural reef!”

For a small donation of $50, any person or group can participate in the Adopt a Coral program. The TCHTA encourages the wider corporate community to donate where possible and join the fight to preserve and protect our magnificent reefs.

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Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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