THE Department of Health & Wellness recently engaged key stakeholders in the hospitality industry in a discussion aimed at implementing a response plan for the coronavirus that will ensure the preservation of the tourism product.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Glensford Joseph says this dialogue is extremely important as measures will be put in place to ensure staff in the tourism sector are educated on ways to manage the threat of the coronavirus.
“Mechanisms were put in place whereby if the hotels or operators encounter someone who may be having signs and symptoms consistent with the novel corona virus and especially having a history of travel, how they can best isolate those persons in a designated area and call the ministry for supportive care.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Donalyn Vittet says her ministry remains committed to working with the Department of Health to ensure all procedures at the air and sea ports are adhered to, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Within the industry, we have accommodation properties, sites and attractions, we have the transportation sector, taxi drivers, and marine based businesses. So, we really are looking at those persons who are essential to driving the businesses whether it be on the management level or operational level, but essentially our hope is to work with all those essential to any business, any site or attraction or tourism enterprise who would be responsible for carrying out a surveillance to further assist the authorities, the Health Department and the Security Department so that they can be charged with the information to act.”
Chief Executive Officer of the St Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association Noorani Azeez spoke on the importance of educating stakeholders within the tourism sector on how to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are comfortable that we have set a decent plan of engagement that will include general meetings, information sharing, training of trainers who will hopefully roll out more onsite engagement and development of our team members. We will also look at the various pieces of communication literature that we can use to strengthen and enhance the transfer of these competencies.”
The Department of Health & Wellness remains committed to continue dialogue with stakeholders within the tourism sector including the Ministry of Tourism, the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.