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Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association Unveils a Robust Plan for 2024

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#TurksandCaicos#Tourism, February 15th, 2024 – Providenciales, Turks & Caicos – With an exceptional close to 2023 illuminated by a showstopping Maskanoo™ and notable participation in regional industry events SOTIC and CHTA CHIEF, the Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) has ushered in the new year with a bold plan rooted in partnership development, strengthened advocacy efforts, people development, and heightened member engagement.

 

The association has etched a 3-year Strategic Plan, set to be distributed to members at its upcoming Annual General Meeting in April.  “Inheriting the legacy of our previous 5-year plan, the arrival of the new Board of Directors in 2023 marked a pivotal moment to redefine our journey. It’s a time of renewal and ambition, where we set forth with fresh Mission and Vision Statements for the organization,” expressed President James McAnally, “This not only reflects our commitment to growth and excellence but also signifies a new chapter of innovation and leadership within the organization.”

 

 The organization’s mission is pointed and impactful: ‘To amplify the voice of the country’s diverse stakeholders through collaboration and education, encouraging members to forge meaningful relationships for the advancement of the tourism industry.’ With this as the ethos to its plans, the TCHTA’s vision is supported by its commitment to advocacy, member-centric growth, and the fostering of a resilient, innovative tourism sector.

 

 In January, the association released a 2024 calendar brimming with events that not only honour the stellar service of industry professionals through its 15th annual Star Awards ceremony, but adds a nod to the stalwarts of the organization with its newest event, The President’s Ball, set for its inauguration in November. TCHTA Members, residents, and the travel community are urged to engage in important events like the bi-annual cleanup campaign, TCI Shines, the eagerly anticipated Hospitality Adventure summer camps, and this year’s return of the TCHTA Destination Escape FAM Trip for travel advisors and travel media.

 

 While the organization’s signature events are ever popular and a boon to the destination’s calendar, the day-to-day business of the Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association is rooted in its mandate to advocate on behalf of the industry. This undertaking is carried out through the association’s committees, each chaired by members of its Board of Directors.

 

 “With many of them sitting for the first time, this current Board has brought with it a fresh energy that is timely as the organization moves ahead with its new Strategic Plan,” said Stacy Cox, CEO of the organization.

 

 Building upon the momentum of past successes, the TCHTA is committed to elevating its impact and reach through a multitude of initiatives designed to foster growth, collaboration, and resilience within the tourism and hospitality sector. The 2024 strategic outlook encompasses a comprehensive suite of activities and focus areas:

 

 Advocacy for Industry Excellence

 

The TCHTA will intensify its advocacy work by strengthening relationships with government agencies, facilitating industry stakeholder collaboration, developing white papers for policy advocacy, and engaging in lobbying efforts focused on crime alleviation, crisis management, destination management, and legislative consultations.  The organization is working closely with the TCIAA as that body works diligently to make strides in its congestion alleviation plans for the Howard Hamilton Airport.

 

 The association has engaged the services of Yvette Marcelin-Seymour, partner at Twa Marcelin Wolf, as its official legal counsel to navigate the proper drafting of consultative responses and submissions to Cabinet.

 

 Membership Engagement

 

Efforts to deepen connections with members will include personalized outreach, quarterly sessions aimed at maximizing membership benefits, monthly webinars on industry trends and challenges, and regular surveys to gauge member needs and feedback. The association also aims to strengthen its network by connecting small business members with its larger member entities, fostering a symbiotic ecosystem within the tourism sector.

 

 Sustainability Initiatives

 

Continuation of the TCI Shines cleanup program exemplifies the association’s commitment to environmental stewardship, aiming to inspire both the tourism industry and the community at large to maintain the pristine beauty of the islands. The organization will build closer connections to CAST and will align with the regional goals set forward by the CHTA to address the systematic approach needed to build sustainability in Caribbean destinations.

 

Communications Strategy

 

A revamped communications approach includes a monthly local educational campaign via radio and print, newsletters tailored to different audiences (TCI Insider for members and TCI Style for the travelling public), and new social media channels @thisistchta designed to showcase community efforts and people-centric industry stories.

 

 People Development

 

The TCHTA plans to redevelop the high school Tourism Clubs and build the TCHTA Young Leaders group, providing crucial support for hospitality workers at the supervisory and middle management levels. Additionally, access to educational opportunities will be expanded, underlining the association’s commitment to professional development.

 

 Marketing and Events

 

A rich calendar of events for 2024 has been announced, featuring the Star Awards, TCI Shines, Taste of Tapas, Hospitality Adventure summer camps, Destination Escape FAM Experience, the inaugural TCHTA President’s Ball, Hello Tourist, and the traditional Maskanoo™ celebration. These events not only showcase the association’s dynamic approach to member engagement and public outreach but also serve as pivotal platforms for industry recognition and cultural celebration.

 

 The organization is excited to support the progressive plans laid by the Ministry of Tourism and Experience Turks & Caicos, continuing its partnership in the strategic marketing of the destination.

 

 Annual Charitable/Community Cause

 

The focus for this year is Mental Health, highlighting the importance of well-being within the community. In May, the TCHTA will partner with local agencies to amplify Mental Health Awareness, hosting educational and fundraising events to support mental health initiatives.

 

 The association’s aims for 2024 are defined by member-centric growth, advocacy for sustainable development, and a focus on the pillars of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. The organization is excited for the year of work ahead and congratulates the destination and its members for the remarkable wins achieved in the USA Today 10 Best Awards announced in January.

 

 For more details on the TCHTA’s vision for 2024 and membership opportunities, please reach out to: info@turksandcaicoshta.com or call 649 339-5787.

 

 Visit the TCHTA’s website at www.turksandcaicoshta.com and follow them on social media at @officialtchta and @thisistchta.

 

 

 

Caribbean News

CARPHA Supports Antigua and Barbuda in Building Capacity for upcoming Mass Gathering Events

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St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. April 17th  2024. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is conducting an integrated mission to Antigua and Barbuda (ANU) during April 15-19th  to build capacity in surveillance, early warning and response systems, laboratory capacity, competence in health and food safety, and prepare for the launch of  the CARPHA Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP), ahead of the 4th International Conference of Small Developing Island States (SIDS), Sailing Week, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, and other major upcoming mass gathering(MG) events.

The CARPHA mission, led by Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division (SDPC), comprises  persons from several CARPHA departments: Dr. Laura-Lee Boodram, Head, Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, Head of Laboratory Services and Networks (LSN), Dr. Jarelle Branford and Ms Sheena DeSilva  from  Health Information Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response (HCE), Ms Neeta Oudit (LSN), Mr. Keston Daniel and Dr. Anushka Bissoon-Pustam  of the Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP), and Mr Mohammed Elsherbiny, Senior Technical Advisor to the THP from the UKHSA.

Dr. Kamaria De Castro, Acting Chief Medical Officer, remarked “The partnership is timely as it helps to improve capacity as it assists in developing a sustainable future. We want to protect our local population as well as our visitors and let them know that we are aware of public health threats and we are preparing, building capacity, training and procuring resources that will be put in place to effectively prevent major spread of diseases. She extended her gratitude to CARPHA for the continued support and partnership.”

Dr. Lisa Indar indicated, “It is important to prevent public health threats to stop them from becoming emergencies as visitors are coming in from many different countries for Cricket World Cup, SIDS, Sailing Week and we want to make sure our visitors as well as our people are safe. We want to put systems in place and strengthen existing systems to be able to identify risks early and begin immediate and more timely responses to mitigate the potential spread of diseases.”

Key outcomes and activities of this mission include:

  • High level endorsements for the capacity building missions from the Ministers of Health, and Tourism
  • Formation of an Antigua and Barbuda THP Steering Committee for promoting healthier safer tourism
  • Communicable Diseases Surveillance workshop for Health Workers across the health sector to understand case definitions and timely reporting to the central level.
  • National Risk Assessment for mass gatherings, using the WHO/PAHO Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Tool, the results of which will be used to guide preparation and response for the upcoming MGs.
  • Desktop simulation exercises with doctors, public health nurses, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, National Office of Disaster Services, Red Cross and laboratory workers to assess how participants will respond  to  multiple public health  scenarios during mass gathering events and identify gaps/challenges of the same.
  • Rapid response training for public health professionals, including persons from the security/defense force and  the National Office of Disaster Services and partners. The training will review scenarios that  necessitate  mounting a response to a public health emergency by rapidly dispatching a multidisciplinary team to investigate and implement mitigating measures to contain the situation.
  • Mass gatherings surveillance training for surveillance team, public health nurses and other members within the health sector. An all-hands-on-deck approach will be taken to emphasize the need for daily and real-time reporting, monitoring, response, coordination, and communication. CARPHA’s regional mass gathering syndromic surveillance system (MGSS) is detailed,  including  national surveillance, tourism-based surveillance and the new module developed for mass gatherings . Doctors, nurses, and surveillance officers to be present at the health stations for the 4th UN SIDS Conference will also be trained and registered on MGSS.
  • Engagement with the health, tourism, and port authority teams to discuss ways to bolster disease surveillance of cruise ships for Antigua and Barbuda as a large number of the transient population for the country is through cruises, especially as Antigua and Barbuda is a homeport for many cruise ships.
  • Conduct field visits to major hotels (including the ones hosting the players and officials for the T20 games) to get them registered on the confidential early warning THiS system.
  • Training on Food and Environmental Health safety during mass gatherings for food handlers and restaurants, including those who will be providing the catering services for the SIDS Conference. The training focuses on ensuring all food handlers are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and tools to prepare, cook, store and serve food to guests at the establishments and in a Mass Gathering setting.
  • Training in Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, for the hospitality sector with an additional focus on Mass Gatherings. The session aims to build capacity to quickly identify and respond to cases of infectious diseases and will include participants from the hotel, food and beverage sectors some of which will be working closely with the SIDS Conference and will be working with the upcoming Cricket World Cup.
  • Assessments of the laboratory network of Antigua and Barbuda for optimization of laboratory services available in-country. Training in testing for priority pathogens during an emergency response and/or mass gathering will be conducted.

As a highly tourism-dependent country, Antigua welcomes as much as 20,000 visitors daily, further highlighting the need for robust visitor-based surveillance. These workshops will provide instruments in identifying and addressing various challenges of Antigua and Barbuda in preparing for mass gatherings. This joint mission aims to strengthen Antigua and Barbuda’s surveillance and response capacity and preparedness to effectively anticipate and manage potential challenges, ensuring a seamless and secure SIDS conference, T20 CWC tournament, Sailing Week and Carnival experience for all.

CARPHA and Antigua and Barbuda continue to work toward supporting Antigua and Barbuda’s preparation for these large-scale mass gathering events and for the large number of tourists visiting the islands on a daily and weekly basis. CARPHA stands ready to continue supporting Antigua and Barbuda.

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Caribbean News

Barbados recognizes Palestine as sovereign

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

Barbados has made a huge diplomatic move, recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state, as announced by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kerrie Symmonds, according to a report from CBC News Barbados on Saturday April 20. This now aligns Barbados with other UN Member states which also recognise Palestine.

 

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Caribbean News

Haiti death toll rises

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

Haiti’s death toll is now up 53 percent with more than 2,500 people killed from January through March 2024, compared to the same time last year. This was reported by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH),  on Friday April 19. The organization expressed that gangs have changed their tactics, now targeting public institutions and important infrastructure such as the main Airport. Most of the violence is reportedly in the Capital Port Au Prince.

 

 

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