The Minister of Tourism and the Chief Medical Officer gave their nod of approval to the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) Caribbean Travellers Health Assurance Stamp and mobile app at its launch yesterday.

The initiative is part of CARPHA’s Caribbean Tourism and Health Programme as the region looks beyond its battle with COVID-19.

The mobile application, which is available for both Android and Apple devices, empowers travellers to choose the safest accommodations and hospitality facilities as evaluated by CARPHA through its Caribbean Travellers Health Assurance Safety Stamp.

For these facilities to acquire the stamp, there are several criteria it would first need to meet including the staff’s participation in training as well as proper health protocols being in place to curtail the spread of the virus.

There are different levels which can be acquired based on the level of safety they offer.

According to CARPHA’s assistant director Dr Lisa Indar, “Caribbean travellers have the added assurance of a healthier and safer option for accommodation and services who have been awarded this stamp.”

“Apart from the core health sector, the travel and tourism industry was the first to be impacted, has suffered the greatest and will also be among the last to recover,” Minister of Tourism Randall Mitchell said.

The stamp and mobile app, he said, would play a key role in the sector’s recovery process.

This health and safety intervention by CARPHA would position Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the region as open for business and underscored our commitment to the health and safety for our travellers,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram also said these tools would help in managing COVID-19 infections locally when international travel returns to normal.

“When borders are reopened, the initiative launched today would become a very effective tool for COVID-19 management in Trinidad and Tobago as I expect it would be for countries who’ve already opened their borders to external travellers,” he said.

“The real-time provision of information that is inherent with the application of technology and the collaborative approach to the implementation of this Caribbean-wide project are two key factors in the success of the holistic management of a viral pandemic. I have much hope for the success of this project as we are all poised to benefit.”

The initiative was done in collaboration with several tourism stakeholders and bodies from across the region and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.