NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS — 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, in preparation for the reopening of the Federation’s borders.
Mr. John Hanley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, explained at the start of the training sessions at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre on July 27, 2020 that the training was mandated by the COVID-19 Task Force, 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, protecting them from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, and also on the other hand ensuring the financial viability and the 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 of 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,” he said.
Mr. Hanley noted the importance 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.
He said the new normal requires a paradigm shift, new customer service requirements and new standard operating procedures which must be put in place in order for the destination to remain competitive and relevant.
“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 and 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,” he said.
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 inhouse training.
The COVID-19 Task Force will inspect properties and once the requirements are met, they will be issued with a St. Kitts and Nevis Travel Assured seal, a physical document as well as 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, 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.