Caribbean HIV and AIDS Alliance launch Responsible Tourism Model and Best Practice in HIV and AIDS

ZIZ News…April 6, 2010 (Sharon Ramsaran, Communications Officer) – The Caribbean HIV and AIDS Alliance launched its groundbreaking and innovative HIV&AIDS and Responsible Tourism Model at a forum at the Jolly Beach Hotel in Antigua, March 31, 2010.

Described as the “first such model in the world” by Executive Director of the Caribbean HIV and AIDS Alliance, Basil Williams, the model provides step by step guidance for work in the tourism sector in the region.

Speaking at the forum, Williams noted that the region should not underestimate the ability of HIV to destabilize the economies of the region. As such, he said the model “is unique in the way it was approached and will leave a lasting impact.”

“This is a landmark event in the regional dynamic against HIV and AIDS. (It) unfolds a backdrop of creative thinking and innovative approaches that have gained traction in the tourism sector,” Carl Browne, Director of PANCAP said.

The model came out of work done under the Accelerating the Private Sector Response to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean Project in Jamaica and Barbados. Under the project, various behaviour change interventions among key populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and tourism workers were conducted. A key outcome of the project was the partnerships built between private and public sector and among private sector and civil society organizations.

Also launched, was a Compendium of Best Practice Case Studies. The publication provides real stories from organizations and individuals impacted by the project. Drawing on interviews conducted with industry leaders, workers, both formal and informal, the case studies highlight efforts to address HIV in the tourism sector. It also describes the challenges in delivering services in a sector which is highly protective of its image.

The Caribbean region has the highest HIV prevalence rate outside of sub Saharan Africa and an estimated 240,000 persons are believed to be living with HIV in the region.

The Caribbean also earns an estimated US$25 billion in revenue from tourism and accounts for 15 per cent of GDP. Each year, some 40 million stop over and cruise ship passengers are welcomed to the region.

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