Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, through its agencies, Tourism Trinidad Ltd (TTL) and Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd (TTAL), has begun the rollout of the COVID-19 protocols for this country’s tourism sector 2021.

In a statement, the ministry said over 200 establishments in Tobago were issued with the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) while TTL trained and issued certificates to over 450 operators on achieving COVID-19 compliance and readiness.

TTL also partnered with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to train and promote the Caribbean Travellers Health Assurance Stamp and the Caribbean Travellers Health App.

TTL, in collaboration with TTAL and the Ministry of Health, will train over 700 tourism stakeholders from T&T, including tour guides, tour operators and tourist transportation providers.

The training, which will begin on July 16, 2021 and will last until August, will be conducted in accordance with the Ministry of Health-approved COVID-19 protocols for the sector.

It will be followed by a rigorous monitoring and evaluation process to ensure strict adherence to the protocols, the ministry added.

And as part of its wider engagement plan, the ministry along with TTL and TTAL, will meet with the residents of all the major tourism organisations ahead of the reopening of the country’s borders on July 17, 2021

The ministry also said it is working with the Health Ministry to vaccinate tourism stakeholders.

The COVID-19 protocols for sector are recognised, tested guidelines to direct the sector’s day-to-day operations, protect the health of tourism sector employees, guests, and the community and instil confidence in the mind of travellers that systems are in place at the destination to protect them.

They will assist tourism operators with achieving the internationally recognised Safe Travels Stamp from the WTTC.

“These protocols, with their scientifically supported guidelines, can now be used by tourism service providers across the eight tourism sectors. They allow the sector to operate safely and effectively, protecting our operators and visitors from COVID-19,” Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said.

The ministry added that adherence to the protocols will safeguard both visitors and tourism operators.

They will also identify clear requirements, procedures, communication tools, strategies etc. that will reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus if followed.

Random spot checks will be conducted on operations issued with the Safe Travels Stamp.

The ministry said that a tourism operator does not comply with the requirements of the protocols, then the stamp will be withdrawn.

“All tourism stakeholders must adapt to an environment where both visitor and personal safety is paramount. The reopening of T&T’s borders represents a significant milestone in the tourism recovery process. For this reason, the ministry is ensuring that tourism stakeholders are well equipped to welcome our long-awaited guests safely,” Mitchell said.

He added that the successful restart of the travel and tourism industry depends on vaccinations on the one hand, and the confidence of travellers in the preparedness of destinations to protect against the virus.