‘Healthier, safer tourism’ scheme restarts after Covid break
A tourism health and safety programme that went on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic has been restarted.
Officials from the Caribbean Public Health Agency helped 80 people in tourism and transportation related work to get trained over the course of three days in the “healthier, safer tourism” scheme.
Lisa Indar, programme manager for regional tourism and health at CARPHA, said the system was a confidential means of flagging up potential outbreaks of communicable disease and other health issues with the return of tourism and travel.
Dr Indar added: “We are not diagnosing – it’s about early warning and response.”
She said safety measures such as hand washing and the use of masks should continue during events such as Cup Match this week.
Under the programme, places from tour buses to guesthouses will be able to show the healthier, safer tourism brand.
Ayo Oyinloye, the chief medical officer, said Covid-19 and monkeypox were “topical” but that the programme was aimed at cases from food poisoning to outbreaks of norovirus.
“These types of things can cause a lot of reputational damage and ill health in a very short period of time.”
He added: “Because we are all relaxing, all types of respiratory viruses that have been hiding are coming out.”
Jason Hayward, the acting health minister, said the programme had been introduced ahead of the 2017 America’s Cup, with Bermuda standing out as one of the first countries to adopt it.
“Due to the pandemic, the programme has not been the focus over the last two years, but we are now in a position to get it back on track.”
The pandemic wiped out almost 700 positions in travel and tourism in 2021.
Mr Hayward called it “a critical industry for Bermuda” that needed to be safeguarded with the revival of travel.
Three days of training included transport and tourism ministry staff, public transportation, taxi and minicab drivers as well as the Chamber of Commerce, the Bermuda Employers’ Council, the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Bermuda Hotel Association and unions.