Since the 1980s, the global tourist accommodation industry has been reviewing, adapting and improving measures and operational aspects that favour health, hygiene and safety during urban or holiday stays. A good example of this are the responses formulated by sectorial entities such as the British ABTA through technical guides on Health & Safety or prevention of spread of infections, POSI in its acronym. In both cases and due to the technical knowledge, Preverisk has contributed to the guides with guidelines, methodologies and good practices that enjoy prestige and international recognition.
With the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic and its negative impact on tourism companies, a new front has opened up that until recently was almost taken for granted and now needs to be recovered: the confidence of travellers in products and services in the tourism cycle.
In this sense, and with the intention of assisting the tourism industry and destinations, Preverisk adopted a holistic vision of the current situation of health and safety programs through a proactive and comprehensive risk management approach. In summary, it is a process that identifies potential hazards and analyses what could happen if a hazard occurs.
This novel approach has been applied to destinations, guests, staff and third parties involved in hotel operations.
To implement it, a team composed of internal and external experts from Preverisk was set up in addition to a working group from the international chain RIU Hotels & Resorts to enhance all aspects of practicality and applicability. Thus, 17 protocols have been thoroughly tested in a real hotel environment and are now part of a program that is available to hoteliers through the alliance called Post Covid19 Tourism Sector Alliance. This program has two fundamental objectives: to lay the groundwork for implementing risk management programs in hotels to protect the health and safety of guests and employees, and to put into practice the sharing of useful knowledge to focus on safe re-openings in line with international and national standards and regulations.
To achieve these objectives, a coordination group has been set up to provide all partners with exclusive resources, recommendations and guidelines. While it is true that each hotel is a world unto itself, the philosophy of the alliance is, with the help and input of the partners, to refine, adapt and improve the program for the benefit of all partners. Sharing knowledge and fostering co-development - these are the maxims shared by the alliance.
In a further step, and because of the expectation of imminent recovery from tourism activities under Covid19, very detailed protocols have been made available to partners to address issues of major concern relating to, for example, personnel policy, entry of goods, social distancing measures, measures for confinement of sick people or those suspected of having been infected, or the management of the reception, restaurant and bar. These protocols form a set of practices that must be individually adapted to each establishment. In addition, the partners have operational protocols that differ from the other protocols in that they are real examples and are implemented in a hotel environment.
Conferences to clarify doubts have also been organised through 4 calls for Focus Webinars, which have met with a very positive and participative response from the allies. On average, around 90 allies have participated in these instructive webinars and the cumulative number of views of the recordings has been around 450. In addition, a private group has been created on the professional social network LinkedIn to inform allies about news, direct access to different valuable documents and the recordings of the webinars.
In the coming weeks and after having participated in the alliance, the challenge for the sector is to take the appropriate measures, especially in the training of all the personnel who will also have to transmit confidence through their work and actions security, hygienic environments and practices that promote health. For this purpose, specialized training can be provided by the suppliers of choice or the training options through Preverisk health and safety experts in remote mode or, if the circumstances allow and advise, in person may be considered. Once the training has been completed, the step towards certification can be taken to make explicit the actions that have been taken to avoid infections and to show the competent local and national authorities that not only there is the wish to comply with the minimum standards, but that the commitment for the immediate future is to effectively protect the health and safety of guests and staff.