CHARLESTOWN, Nevis –- In preparation for the reopening of the Federation’s borders, over the next two weeks more than 1,000 workers in the tourism sector on Nevis will benefit from training sessions on COVID -19, hosted by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Nevis Tourism Authority (NTA) and the Ministry of Health.
John Hanley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, explained at the start of the training sessions that the training was mandated by the COVID-19 Task Force and, that all tourism workers must be sensitized to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“This training is in response to the COVID-19 crisis, where we have to negotiate a delicate balance between ensuring the safety of our citizens and visitors,” said Hanley. “We must protect them from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and ensure the financial viability and economic survival of tourism stakeholders, especially given the significant contribution of tourism to the economy of the Federation.
“This balance becomes even more delicate when we consider our vulnerability to hurricanes. This training is part of our preparation for reopening our borders and as the Hon. Premier just stated, no specific date has been decided as yet but we have to be ready for when that decision is made.”
Hanley noted the importance of “adequate preparation for all tourism workers directly or indirectly employed in the Tourism Industry, due to the high instances of COVID-19 in primary source markets as the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
“The new normal requires a paradigm shift, new customer service requirements. New standard operating procedures must be put in place in order for the destination to remain competitive and relevant,” he said. “We only have one chance to make a favourable impression and we cannot afford to squander that chance.
“This training that we are about to do today would be step one in the process,” explained Hanley. It is a sensitization of our tourism workers about the nature of the disease and what is necessary to protect oneself and visitors against it. We also have to up our game in terms of customer service and we must know how to behave and engage effectively while wearing masks and social distancing.”
At the end of the training, participants will be issued a certificate of attendance.
All tourism businesses will be required to have a COVID-19 plan which incorporates the protocols which will be ratified by the National COVID-19 Task Force shortly.
The Ministries of Health and Tourism will collaborate to monitor and guide the in-house training.
The COVID-19 Task Force will inspect properties and once the requirements are met, they will be issued a St. Kitts and Nevis Travel Assured seal, a physical document, and an electronic seal which will be placed on the website and social media platforms of compliant tourism establishments.
The first session was on “Health and Safety Protocols,” facilitated by a team from the Alexandra Hospital staff, Assistant Matron Jessica Scarborough, Assistant Nurse Manager Chandreka Wallace and Dr. Florelle Hobson.
The second session was on “Customer Service in the COVID-19 Era,” facilitated by Mrs. Tresia Daniel.
Also present was Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism.