The Ministries of Health and Tourism in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) are pleased to announce the launch of a national initiative to enhance the health and well-being of its visitors and locals while promoting sustainable and profitable tourism.
Belize is one of six Caribbean countries that will benefit from this project funded by a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The project will be implemented from 2016-2018 by CARPHA, through its regional tourism and health program, in collaboration with Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) along with Private-Public Teams in each country. Along with the Chief Medical Officers or Permanent Secretaries of Tourism in each country, these organizations will comprise the Regional Project Steering Committee.
The Caribbean tourism industry is facing Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) threats resulting in disease outbreaks which have contributed to a decline in tourist arrivals. Inadequate health response systems, the absence of standards and certification and also the lack of training have been identified as the contributing factors to the food safety and environmental sanitation issues in the region leading to a potential tourism crisis.
The “Regional Tourism Health Information, Monitoring and Response System and Standards to Enhance Sustainable Tourism Project’s” was officially launched on October 21, 2016, by the Minister of Health of Belize, Hon. Pablo Marin. In his keynote address he spoke on the benefits that Belize will gain from this project and also on the new improved marketability this will bring to Belize.
The primary objective of the project is to see fewer, less costly outbreaks and other negative public health events occurring in the tourism industry; promoting a healthier, safer, more reputable Caribbean tourism product on the global stage; and to strengthen regional safety and security for both visitors and locals. The project also aims to strengthen human resource capacity and skills in health, food safety, and environmental management and promote public-private sector intersectoral partnerships at national and regional levels in support of HSE tourism threats.
Belize looks forward to the strengthening of human resource capacity and skills in health, food safety and environmental managements. By enhancing sustainable tourism, the results will include promoting economic development, poverty eradication and the quality of life for Belizeans. He ended his message by expressing thanks to CARPHA for their continued partnership in the implementation of this project and to see it through where we can both benefit.