Ensuring the safety of residents and tourists is vital to one of the region's top economic earners - tourism and in this regard, the Government of Barbados is committed to assisting in the establishment and implementation of a sustainable tourism development programme.
According to the Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, his ministry has already collaborated with a number of key stakeholders to develop a number of initiatives that would contribute towards this disaster management plan. He was speaking at the National Workshop for the Development of a Model Disaster Risk Management Strategy and Plan of Action for the Tourism Sector in the Caribbean at the Sherbourne Conference Centre yesterday.
Some of these things are the formation of a Tourism Emergency Management Committee (TEMC) that will organize activities and communicate with the Department of Emergency Management and other important organizations in the area of emergency and disaster management, the development of a basic disaster management course for these TEMC individuals and designing a draft Multi-Hazard Disaster Management Framework.
Other initiatives are the development of a Tourism Emergency Operating Centre (TEOC) that would look after disaster response within the tourism sector, the creation of a draft Tourism Sector Tropical Weather Systems Plan and coordinating with law enforcement officials and the private sector to develop "consequence management" initiatives in the area of terrorism and training both public and private sector security personnel in how to deal with this type of emergency should it occur.
Once this Disaster Risk Management Strategy and Plan of Action is developed for the tourism sector, it would reap a number of benefits such as helping to decrease the possible financial loss to the tourism industry in each of the Caribbean nations, ensuring that there is more "confidence within the marketplace" with the belief that the various tourism destinations in the region have established a system that permits them to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and man made disasters more efficiently and ensuring that the different Caribbean countries have relevant information that would enable them to develop more effective strategies and also to share information with each other so that Caribbean nations can be better equipped on a whole in the area of disaster management, said Sealy.
This strategy would also help Caribbean nations to recover in a more "timely manner than in a situation where no strategies were developed."
Sealy stated that the success of this strategy and plan would be crucial to maintaining the financial success that the region has worked hard to attain.
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