World Tourism Day 2022: Rethinking Tourism

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(Caribbean Public Health Agency Press Release) Instituted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), World Tourism Day 2022, under the theme “Rethinking Tourism”, encourages us to refocus on the future and motivate the debate around rethinking tourism for development, including through education and job creation, and tourism’s impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more sustainably.

Celebrated on September 27 annually, this World Tourism Day celebrates the pivotal progress made towards tourism being recognized as a crucial pillar of development and progress. May 2022 marked the first time the United Nations General Assembly held a special debate on tourism, illustrating the historic relevance of the sector. Tourism is a priority on the agenda of governments and of international organizations.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)’s Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP) stands with the UNWTO and other international and regional tourism partners and stakeholders in commemoration of World Tourism Day 2022 – Rethinking Tourism.

Objectives and Intended Outputs for World Tourism Day 2022:

•               Provide a platform for inclusive dialogue to identify solutions to realise tourism’s potential as a vehicle for recovery and transformation.

•               Amplify the message of tourism as an inspirational and transformational force, and the role of UNWTO and the whole of the sector in fulfilling this potential.

•               Mobilise political will and cooperation to ensure tourism is a central part of policymaking.

•               Ask big questions and identify solutions to realign tourism for the future.

In the Caribbean, we recognize that the health of Caribbean economies is closely related to the health of its travel and tourism industry given that the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has demonstrated the critical necessity for health in tourism as it was propelled by travel, devastating tourism, resulting in economic instability and threatening regional health security in the Caribbean. Health must be intertwined into Caribbean tourism to promote sustainable tourism and thereby, sustainable economies, social and economic well-being.

In keeping with CARPHA’s mandate (IGA, Section 5), CARPHA’s THP was developed to strengthen regional and national health systems and enhance the health of visitor and resident populations through seeking to address the health, safety, and environmental sanitation threats to tourism. THP adopts a multi-faceted, multi-sectoral approach for improving the resilience of the tourism industry and by extension, the health sector of each participating country through surveillance, response, guidelines, capacity building, standards, policy, advocacy and partnerships, and a travellers health award and app. THP is elevating Caribbean tourism by building traveller’s confidence and supporting CARPHA Member States in reinstating healthier, safer travel to the Caribbean, during COVID-19 and as the pandemic changes its trajectory. This integrated programme, first of its kind, continues to pioneer in setting an international precedent for improving sustainable tourism and health security whilst engaging and collaborating with Member States.

CARPHA urges its Member States to integrate health practices into tourism, enabling a more sustainable and resilient Caribbean travel and tourism sector as we continue to face many external shocks, including the performance of the global economies, natural disasters and most recently, major health threats.

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