CHARLESTOWN, Nevis –- Phases One and Two of “Sensitization Training” courses for travel-related businesses have been successfully conducted, with 1,300 participants completing the sessions. The sessions were timed to prepare for the reopening of St. Kitts and Nevis borders to travellers on October 31.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris recently announced the October 31 reopening of the Federation’s borders to international commercial flights and travellers.
The opening will facilitate the return of tourists and allow nationals and residents abroad the opportunity to return home to their families, their jobs, and their communities in a more regular and predictable way.
“The decision to reopen is a significant development for the Federation, and all considerations were taken into account for this undertaking to be responsible and successful,” said the Prime Minister.
The government observed the experiences of other the reopening of other tourist destinations and the advice from World Health Organization, the Pan-American Health Organization, the Caribbean Public Health Agency and local health experts were critical to this process.
In preparation for the opening, the Nevis Tourism Authority (NTA) the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MOH), successfully conducted Phase 1 “Sensitization Training” and Phase 2 “Train the Trainers,” Covid-19 safety protocol workshops for all stakeholders on the island.
All stakeholders will be awarded a certificate of completion, and all businesses will receive the St. Kitts and Nevis “Travel Approved Seal,” a validation that the establishment is safe to visit. This is a critical step in the overall preparation for reopening the island to international travellers.
Phase 1 “Sensitization Training” was successfully conducted from July 27th to August 18th with 1,300 participants completing the sessions.
Phase 2 “Train the Trainers” workshop was specifically held to train lead personnel at individual establishments who can then instruct new hires when they are on-boarded. Two hundred and ninety-four individuals were trained at this event. The sectors covered for training were:
• Accommodation – hotels, guest houses, apartments, villas;
• Tourism transport – land taxis, water taxis;
• Tour guides and activities – tour guides, water sports, DMC’s;
• Tourism-retail and attractions – artisan vendors, other vendors, attractions; and
• Tourism services – NTA, MOT, Port, Immigration, Customs, and Security.
All establishments that were represented at the “Train the Trainers” sessions, as well as participants from the “Sensitization Training,” will be emailed electronic certificates.
The “Travel Approved Seal” will clearly identify the establishments and operators within the tourism industry who have undergone the required training to meet the minimum health and safety COVID-19 protocols.
Stakeholders who fail to meet the minimum standards to obtain the “Travel Approved Seal” will not be allowed to operate and serve the public, and the NTA and its partners will not promote them in the source markets.
The MOT and MOH will create an auditing checklist for each tourism sub-sector. Personnel from the tourism departments will assist the COVID-19 Compliance Task Force in conducting physical inspections and reviews of COVID-19 plans and anti-COVID-19 measures put in place on property. They will also schedule further inspections for monitoring.
According to the MOT and MOH, the “Travel Approved Seal” certification process is one initiative that moves all stakeholders closer to a phased reopening. When the island is ready to accept travellers, they will have the assurance that every effort has been made to protect their health and they can enjoy their experiences in Nevis with confidence.