The health of Caribbean economies is closely related to the health of its tourism industry given that the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world.

However, tourism is vulnerable to health, safety and environmental sanitation (HSE) public health threats. These include disease outbreaks and deficiencies in environmental sanitation and food safety, which impact regional health security and the sustainability of Caribbean tourism sector.

To improve the health, safety, and security of visitors and locals, and thereby contribute to enhancing the quality, competitiveness and sustainability of Caribbean tourism, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) established a Regional Tourism and Health Programme (THP) in 2014. Click here to view the THP brochure.

The THP is a novel, integrated, program with components of real time, early alert and response tourism based surveillance system, food safety and environmental sanitation training, HSE standards and tourism and health partnerships. View PowerPoint here.

Countries participating in the program will have enhanced capacity to prepare for, respond to and mitigate against public health threats to sustainable tourism and regional health security. This is the first Caribbean-wide and global effort of its kind, setting an international precedent.

  • CARPHA in partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) agreed to establish a Regional Tourism and Health Programme in January, 2014
  • This is a holistic, integrated, multidisciplinary and multiagency programme
  • Approved by CARPHA's Executive Board in September 2013
  • Approved by CTO’s Board of Directors in January 2014
  • Seed funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Antigua and Barbuda
  • Resource Mobilization, Awareness Raising, Program Development Partnerships has commenced.
Overall Goal and Strategy


To Improve the health, safety, quality and sustainability of the Caribbean tourism industry and thereby contribute to the industry being more competitive, resilient and sustainable.


Integrated Health, Safety and Environment management approach of combining training, surveillance, monitoring and response, standards implementation and research to address the critical link between health and tourism.

Why the Need for a Regional Tourism & Health Programme
  • Caribbean: most tourism-dependent region in the world.
  • Tourism is a priority, principle contributor to income, employment, foreign exchange, economic growth and has one of the highest development impact in the Caribbean.
  • In 2013, tourism accounted for 46.8M stay-over and cruise ship arrivals, generating revenues of US$28.1B and contributing to 14% of the GDP and 12.3% of total employment in the Caribbean.
  • However, the industry is vulnerable to health, safety and environmental challenges including:
    • Ongoing and costly outbreaks of food and water borne and other enteric illnesses in hotels and cruise-ships
    • Increasing violence and crime
    • Declining natural resources, environmental degradation and serious deficiencies in environmental sanitation and safety Pose serious threats to the sustainability of Caribbean tourism industry
    • High obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes among the tourism workforce
  • These problems can be largely prevented through good systems of monitoring & response, training in food safety and environmental management, standards & certification
  • Rapid detection and expert management of problems, including crisis communications, can reduce economic damage, job losses and closure
  • Addressing the health, safety and environmental (HSE) challenges affecting tourism will contribute to Caribbean tourism being more sustainable, resilient and competitive
  • Improving the sustainability of Caribbean tourism would lead to more employment, growth, foreign exchange, income, increased GDP and thus more sustainable Caribbean economies
Main Objectives

To build a healthier, safer, better quality and more environmental friendly tourism industry which would lead to more sustainable tourism.

  • To reduce foodborne and other illnesses within the tourism sector.
  • To implement food and environmental safety, training and certification.
  • To provide timely alert of health, environmental and social events, to support health monitoring efforts and stimulate a rapid and coordinated response.
  • To establish a credible and affordable regional certification and recognition system to improve health, safety and environmental quality in tourism.
  • To promote a healthy workforce and reduce avoidable health costs to employers.
  • To increase awareness and promote mutual understanding, partnership and collaboration at national and regional level between tourism, health and environment stakeholders to address tourism and health as a joint priority.
  • To develop partnerships, networks, resource mobilization and business strategies for sustainability of the tourism and health program.

Areas of Focus

  • Awareness Raising and Promotion of multisectoral and multiagency collaboration among stakeholders
  • Partnerships, Networks and Business Strategies for Sustainability of the tourism industry and program
  • Food and Environmental Safety Assessment Training & Certification
  • Information, Monitoring, Surveillance and Response Systems
  • Health, Safety & Environmental Standards Certification and Recognition
  • Health and Safety in the Tourism Workplace
Expected Outcomes and Benefits
  • Greater mutual understanding, and collaboration at national and regional levels between tourism, health and environment and other stakeholders
  • Strong public-private sector intersectoral partnerships at national and regional levels between tourism, health and environment stakeholders to support a coordinated approach to deal with health, safety and environmental incidents
  • Increase in the reputation, comparative advantage, resilience and sustainability of the Caribbean tourism industry and economies by enabling a safer, healthier, better quality and standards-based certified destination
  • Fewer, less costly outbreaks and related events in the tourism industry
  • Strengthened human resource capacity and skills in health, food safety, and environmental management
  • Healthier more productive workforce and families, with lower health care costs
  • Health and environment conditions in countries strengthened and more sustainable though the implementation of regional, credible, health, safety and environmental tourism standards and guidelines in tourist establishments
  • Improved coastal and recreational water quality through implementation of environmental management systems and guidelines.
  • Improved or enhanced waste water management practices in tourism sector
  • Industry-wide, hotel and cruise ship based public health surveillance, information and monitoring systems for enhancing public health
  • Relevant, timely and accurate surveillance information and research evidence available for monitoring and responding, and for informing policy and program
  • Fewer work-related accidents and incidents
  • A reduction or prevention of negative publicity and reputation, litigation, lawsuits, travel advisories
  • Increased visitor arrivals, repeat visitations and Caribbean brand enhancement on the global stage