The National Quality Dialogue launched with the tourism sector in Saint Lucia on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, has been hailed as great for the development of the country’s vital foreign exchange earning product.
The statement was made by Director of Product Development with the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Ann-Margaret Adams, as she delivered the key featured address at the quality forum which was held online with major tourism stakeholders.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic had decimated world economies and particularly sectors like tourism for small economies, the Director stressed that the resumption of tourism services in Saint Lucia demanded quality improvements especially now.
A number of quality-related issues had been previously pinpointed in this priority sector, she said, the Ministry of Tourism had begun development of a licensing regime to assist with, “the regulation, quality management, and monitoring of the products and services in the informal and formal sectors of the tourism industry.”
“The Ministry therefore acknowledges that this initiative is timely and augurs well for the sector, by facilitating the increased compliance with industry standards and quality improvements within the tourism value chain, supporting the need for consistent application of accepted tourism service, facility and product standards,” she noted.
Her comments, delivered at the opening of the 11th European Development Fund, Technical Barriers to Trade-funded project, came on the heels of similar acknowledgements of the good the forum could do for the sector, as highlighted by Director of Consumer Affairs, Mrs. Harriet Herman, speaking on behalf of the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Sophia Henry.
At the forum, hosted by the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards, Mrs. Herman stated efforts were already on with national authorities to strengthen regulatory frameworks for the adaptation of national standards and a licensing regime for tourism services.
CEO of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Mr Deryck Omar noted that while this was the first national quality dialogue of the project, it would not be the last. In fact, he said, fora such as this were being used as an awareness raising tool for the industry to inform and educate national priority sectors on how quality could help boost and improve their productivity and earnings.
“With funding through the European Union, and with the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards on board, alongside CROSQ, PTB and the Dominican Republic’s Institute for Quality, this 11th EDF-EPA TBT Project, views the strides being attempted here today as contributing to the overall goal of reducing the barriers to trading with the region and the world. We recognise that in this instance, trade in products and services within the tourism sector has the potential to increase foreign exchange earnings and make our countries more competitive on the global market,” he said.
The National Quality Dialogue is slated to conclude on July 23 with the creation of an Action Plan for the sector detailing next steps for building out and implementing quality procedures and systems.
About 11th EDF-TBT Project
Implementation of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Component of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Programme started in September 2019. It is funded by the European Union, through the CARIFORUM Directorate, managed by the German National Metrology Institute (PTB) and jointly implemented by the PTB, CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL).
The overall 11th EDF-EPA Programme’s objective is to contribute to the integration of the CARIFORUM into the world economy with the specific objective to facilitate the effective operation of the EPA. One means of ensuring the EPA provides the intended benefits to CARIFORUM States is through the improvement of trade and competitiveness by reducing TBTs, through a modernized national and regional Quality Infrastructure. The TBT Component aims to contribute to the Programme’s overall and specific objectives by increasing the use of internationally recognised Regional Quality Infrastructure (RQI) by the regional and national quality institutions and by the private sector. Benefits include the identification and closing of quality gaps in key sectors and organisations; the promotion of a quality culture in the region; and, the strengthening of the RQI.Beneficiary Countries: Caribbean Forum of ACP States (CARIFORUM) and Montserrat: Antigua & Barbuda – The Bahamas – Belize – Dominica – Dominican Republic – Grenada – Guyana – Haiti – Jamaica – Montserrat – Saint Lucia – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Saint Kitts and Nevis – Suriname – Trinidad and Tobago