The Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP) is a novel, innovative, multi-sectoral, multifaceted program. It aims to strengthen regional and national health systems by addressing the health, safety and environmental sanitation (HSE) threats to tourism. Enhancing the health and safety of visitors and locals, regional and global health security, and the quality, reputation and sustainability of Caribbean tourism are its main objectives.
It was established in January 2014 and is being executed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in collaboration with Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO),Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and countries.
Enhancing sustainable tourism is essential for promoting economic development, poverty eradication and improvement of quality of life as set out in the Caribbean’s Tourism Strategic Plan and the Nassau Declaration on Tourism (2014), and as emphasized by World Tourism Organization (WTO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
High and increasing numbers of visitors to the Caribbean region increase the health, safety and security risks to local populations. This is evident through the introduction and spread of new and re-emerging diseases by visitor populations, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), H1N1, Chikungunya, Zika, Norovirus, Measles and the novel coronavirus CoVID-19 pandemic.
Regional solution: To strengthen Member States’ capacity to prepare for and respond to public health threats like COVID-19, which can transcend national boundaries and negatively affect access to goods and services. CARPHA has developed the following regional public health goods (RPGS) which have the potential to strengthen regional health security,
The THP is strengthening countries’ capacities to provide cost-effective, quality solutions to health, safety and environmental sanitation (HSE) threats to tourism via the following tools:
- Real time, web based, early warning and response travel/tourism information system (www.this.carpha.org) to capture illnesses in real time and trigger a rapid and coordinated response
- Integrated THP surveillance system: A comprehensive network of traveler’s health information from THiS (for air travelers) hospitals/health centers, accommodations, cruise ships, laboratories and environment, media reports and public health agencies via the Caribbean Travel health Network (CATHNET)
- Regional Guidelines for science based harmonized response to travel-related public health issues occurring among visitors to the Caribbean arriving by sea (passenger ships) and air (accommodations).
- Capacity building and Certification: Train the trainer advanced food safety, environmental sanitation, prevention and response to illness outbreaks, mosquito borne infections & Globally recognized certification
- Caribbean wide, “clean, green and safe” Hospitality Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards
- Multisectoral regional and international partnerships with health and tourism stakeholders for seamless information flow and response to traveler’s illness across regional and international borders..
- Regional Policy to promote reporting of illness from hospitality sector to national health authorities.
- Sustainable mechanisms for national implementation of the THP as part of countries’ overall health and surveillance systems.
- CARPHA/CTO/CHTA recommended “Healthier Safer Destination Recognition award for facilities (hotels, guesthouses) and destination; grading system based on the use of THIS, HSE standards, policy etc.
- Caribbean Travelers Health app.