THE Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has launched a four-day first ever training on the COVID-19 Extra Care Measures and Standards.
This followed a three year cooperation agreement signed by MCT and MHMS in August last year to incorporate COVID-19 extra care, public health and safety measures including Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) into MCT’s minimum standard requirement for tourism services mainly in accommodation, tours, transport and attractions.
As part of this cooperation, the training this week is to ensure the tourism sector is strategically and relevantly aligning itself to the “new normal”, or new way of living, working and interacting with other people to protect against COVID-19 and mitigate transmission.
In launching the training, MCT Permanent Secretary Andrew Nihopara described the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector as immense with the sector continuing to suffer.
“The pandemic created huge negative impact and subsequent high degree of uncertainty on the global, regional and the national tourism sector.
While we cannot rush forward blindly into these uncertain times, we surely also cannot shut down.
Like we took measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change, so must we also start making the necessary adjustments and taking the critical actions to adapt and be resilient to live with the impacts of COVID-19”,
Having stated this, Mr Nihopara then urge participants to learn as much as possible from the training and prepare to implement the new set of “new normal” knowledge and skills.
“Let me reiterate and remind all the participants that you are the pioneers in this new normal, being the first of many more tourism groups who will be undertaking this training. It is therefore very important that you set the standards high, as you will be the first to roll out the application of this new set of knowledge and skills across your various businesses and institutions”.
National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) Incident Controller Dr Nemia Bainivalu in his remarks expressed appreciation towards the partnerships.
“Our core mandate is to protect and preserve the health of our people and this includes thousands of employees within the tourism sector, including our visitors, thus, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is very pleased in the roll out of the partnerships agreement which includes this training this week”, explained Dr Bainivalu.
Dr Bainivalu reiterates commitment from health to supporting other government ministries, private sector and all other development and social sectors of the country to maintain and enhance work standards to protect against COVID-19 and mitigate its spread.
Around 100 tourism sector workers will participate in the training with the first 50 workers in the first two days and the other 50 on Thursday and Friday.