Young leaders of the Caribbean tourism sector are throwing their support behind calls to heed the advice of public health officials to stay at home so that the region's leading economic sector can rebound quickly once the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic subsides.
The recently established COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force is enlisting young hospitality professionals to encourage protective practices by Caribbean nationals, especially younger ones, many of whom have been slow to respond to the urgency of the outbreak. The messaging from young professionals in Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Turks and Caicos implore fellow youth to take more seriously the dangers of the contagion to the Caribbean.
The Task Force, which comprises representatives from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), unveiled a two-minute video, which contains essential guides to safeguard communities and individuals.
“Listen: The power is in every one of us to end this isolation sooner rather than later. This invisible virus can disappear so much sooner if each one of us does what the experts tell us. The sooner we do that, the sooner we can go back to work and return to normal," says Sonia Simmons, communications manager of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association.
Jamal Griffith, sales and marketing manager of Bougainvillea Barbados, adds, "Here's what the health experts tell us: Please stay at home. We cannot contain this threat to our lives if we continue to go out carousing.”
Drawing on information presented in a recent CHTA webinar, young professionals agreed it was imperative for the region's public and private sector representatives to work closely together to prepare for the post-pandemic recovery. They opined global travelers have become more inured to global shocks, such as natural disasters and geopolitical events, and were optimistic that the Caribbean region would recover faster than many areas in the rest of the world.
The video ends with: "By staying home today, we can travel tomorrow."