In its continued effort at sensitising workers about the deadly HIV/AIDS virus, through the promotion of a Tourism HIV/AIDS workplace policy, the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) launched a DVD entitled, ‘Wanted – an HIV/AIDS Policy’, at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort and Spa, in Montego Bay, St. James, on December 1.
The DVD provides information on the benefits of implementing such a workplace policy, and is expected to play a major role in the development and promotion of strategies for the tourism sector to combat HIV/AIDS, and to address discrimination.
The launch of the video formed part of activities across the island to observe December 1 as ‘World AIDS Day’.
Addressing the launching ceremony, Executive Director of TPDCo, Earl Patrick, said that the tourism sector was essential to the country’s economy with a far-reaching value chain, “accounting for the direct employment of some 80,000 persons and providing income indirectly for a further 150,000 individuals.”
Project Manager of the Caribbean Alliance Project, Dr. Denise Chevannes, making her input at the official launching ceremony of a Tourism HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy DVD by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James, on December 1.
“It stands to reason then, that this value chain must also be affected directly by the quality of life of a worker living with HIV/AIDS. Our concerns must therefore extend beyond that individual, to that of the immediate and extended family, to the community and indeed into the workplace. It is, therefore, an appropriate time to continue to impress upon our industry partners, the importance of putting in place the necessary policies and procedures to further protect and enhance the productivity of our tourism sector worker,” Mr. Patrick said.
The Executive Director pointed out that in educating persons about the benefits to be had from implementing an HIV/AIDS policy in the workplace, his company has no plans to stop with the worker.
“We have to find ways and means to educate and inform and lead, while addressing this matter at the national, community, tourism entity and individual level. I am very pleased today that the TPDCo has arduously pursued the implementation and development of this HIV/AIDS workplace policy. As a consequence, we have seen some 13 properties implementing the policy, while another 14 tourism entities have draft policies in place, as a direct result of this initiative,” Mr. Patrick said.
He urged all stakeholders in the tourism industry to do their part in the promotion of the HIV/AIDS workplace policy and the DVD. “Let the story of an HIV/AIDS workplace policy be your story. Let us act responsibly, without delay, as organisations, as individuals and as communities to support persons living with HIV/AIDS,” he implored.
Some of the objectives of the HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy are: to reduce the transmission of HIV, to manage and mitigate the impact of the disease in the workplace, to improve access to prevention knowledge and skills, treatment, care and support of workers living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, and to reduce stigma and discrimination toward any worker known or perceived to have HIV AIDS.