Minister Cummings pushes for more efficient health, tourism sectors – at tourism, health programme’s launch
GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings is hopeful that with the launch of the Caribbean Tourism and Health Programme in Guyana, the level and quality of health care will be improved.
The Ministry of Public Health and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), launched a tourism and health programme, last evening under the theme “Your experience, Your health, Your safety matters” at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown.
The programme is aimed at providing cost-effective and quality health, food safety and environmental sanitation solutions to health, safety and environmental sanitation threats impacting sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.
The minister said that Guyana is committed to ensuring that sustainable tourism is promoted. “This launch envisions transforming and positioning our society and economy in terms of the creation of more employment, generation of income, the production of social services and livelihoods, while preserving our forest resources and environmental integrity.”
Moreover, the minister placed specific focus on the hospitality and tourism industry and its importance to this programme’s effectiveness. It is important that this industry takes into consideration the necessary capacity building exercises for staff, she noted.
“In such an industry which deals with people, food, and the environment, quality health management is intrinsic to its total development. It is imperative that as the industry mushrooms, the staff must be prepared to operate with the highest standards in food preparation, focusing on health and hygienic safety practices,” Minister Cummings explained.
The tourism and health programme seeks to address health, safety and environmental sanitation threats which can negatively impact sustainable tourism. The programme provides an integrated approach through surveillance, training and the implementation of standards.
Executive Director of CARPHA, Dr. James Hospedales noted that the health of Caribbean economies is closely related to the health of their tourism industry since the region is greatly dependent on tourism.
“Travel and tourism is the ‘business of the Caribbean’ and we are the most tourism dependent region in the world, with over 50 million arrivals, but the industry is vulnerable to a range of health and environmental threats. That is the bad news. The good news is that there are solutions, through systems of information monitoring, training education, standards and that is what this programme brings,” Dr. Hospedales explained.
The benefits of the tourism and health programme include the chance of lesser adverse health events in tourism, enhanced capacity in food safety, health and environment sanitation and a safer, healthier and better tourism product and destination.
The minister said that the positive impact of this joint partnership on the tourist industry is highly anticipated. In the age of increased technological progress, the need for data-driven systems was advocated by Minister Cummings as these will facilitate easier monitoring, and instant access to information on hotels and other tourist facilities
By: Delicia Haynes