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CARPHA helps TCI Strengthen Tourism and Health Program (THP); Beaches, Pine Cay and The Sands at Grace Bay earn Awards



November 1, 2023 – The recent COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that a healthy host community with strong safeguards is among the first to recover from a health disruption. It also highlighted the need for tourism-specific health policies and programs. The exponential spread of COVID-19 was a consequence of travel that had the most devastating effect on modern tourism.

On Tuesday 10 October 2023, a team from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)’s Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP), led by Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control Division, engaged with the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism and Health Steering Committee at the Ministry of Health and Human Services, Providenciales, in order to update and strengthen the TCIs Tourism and Health Program (THP).  Simultaneously, the CARPHA lead for their Environmental Health Laboratory, visited the National Public Health Laboratory’s site in Grand Turk for a walk through to assess the feasibility of upgrading the laboratory to perform Foodborne Disease (FBD) and Waterborne Disease (WBD) testing locally.

This follow-up mission focused on strengthening visitor-based surveillance, registration of additional tourism entities, strengthening FDB surveillance and reviewing laboratory capacity.

A targeted Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Methodologies training session was conducted by the CARPHA team at Beaches TCI, where over 100 Beaches staff participated resulting in Beaches being awarded the Caribbean Travelers’ Health Assurance Stamp for Healthier Safer Tourism (HST).

The HST award was launched in November 2020 and is a measurable and verifiable traveler’s health assurance and recognition award for tourism entities that are implementing the recommended proactive health monitoring and safety measures. The HST Stamp is endorsed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Awardees with the HST Stamp are eligible for the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp.

Pine Cay and The Sands at Grace Bay also received the HST award after meeting the criteria of consistently reporting into the THiS and having their staff trained in IPC methods.

The THP is one of CARPHA’s innovative programs that addresses health, food safety and environmental sanitation (HSE). Real-time, early warning and reaction surveillance systems, response, guidelines, capacity building, HSE standards, policy, advocacy, partnerships, and a travelers’ health award are solutions to the HSE threats affecting sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.  The goal is to enhance the health, safety and security of citizens and visitors while also contributing to the sustainability and resilience of Caribbean tourism and the economies of its states.

The TCI was the first Caribbean country to officially launch the THP on June 22nd, 2016, leading the way regionally for enhancing the health and safety of the tourism product. The TCI has recently been working with CARPHA to reinvigorate and strengthen its program following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the visit, Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. Shaun Malcolm noted “It is important to adopt a multi-faceted cross-sector approach to provide real-time early warning and response, using the Tourism and Health Information System (THiS)”. He went on to say that “this multipronged approach stimulates a rapid and coordinated response to effectively manage and protect both the local population and the industry from any potential public health threats”.

The Minister of Tourism, Hon. Josephine Connolly expressed her excitement at the revitalization of the program, stating, “this real-time reporting system ensures the health and safety of visitors and front-line workers and by extension, our host community. We anticipate the further reengagement and enrollment of other accommodation and service providers. “

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York



New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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CHTA Launches Multi-Destination Media Trip to Showcase Caribbean Interconnectivity and Diversity



May 21, 2024


The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is gearing up for its first multi-destination media trip, designed to illuminate the interconnectedness and diversity across the Caribbean. Scheduled from May 17 to 27, this initiative will showcase the vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and unique experiences spanning St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Nicola Madden-Greig, President of CHTA, expressed enthusiasm for the program and stressed its significance: “This initiative is a testament to the collaborative spirit and interconnected nature that define Caribbean tourism. Our goal is to showcase the diverse offerings of St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, inspiring travelers to explore the myriad experiences our region has to offer.” Although the Dominican Republic had to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances, there are plans to include the nation in future endeavors of this nature.

Madden-Greig reiterated, “The Caribbean is often thought of as one homogenous place, so if you have seen one island you have seen the Caribbean. This trip will debunk that myth and truly showcase the diversity, mystique, and cultural prowess of our distinct islands. Just like you can explore many destinations in Europe having totally diverse experiences, the Caribbean offers the same opportunity.”

Developed in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and Cayman Islands Tourism Association, the itinerary promises an immersive experience. Participants will enjoy the stunning landscapes and beaches of St. Lucia, indulge in an exciting layover in Barbados, discover the culture and radiant beauty of Jamaica, and experience the iconic sites of the Cayman Islands.

Strategically timed to coincide with Caribbean Travel Marketplace from May 21 to 23 in Jamaica, the media trip aims to maximize the event’s networking opportunities. Journalists can enrich their coverage of the multi-destination experience with insights and connections from the region’s premier tourism conference.

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