Revised tourism safety protocols

16 November 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The Namibian Tourism Board (NTB) has issued a new version of the Toolkit on Tourism Safety Protocols and Guidelines.

The document can be downloaded from its website and has been reviewed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

According to the revised document, NTB believes that the guidelines and protocols will provide confidence in the country's source markets to travel to Namibia. It is further aimed at allaying any reasonable fears among guests, staff and management that there is concerted awareness and action towards a safe and hygienic working space for the tourism industry. It says that due to the recommendation by UNWTO which was also endorsed by the NTB board, it does not issue any certification stating that any establishment or destination is declared a safe travel destination. Neither does it endorse any business operator or service provider who wishes to be assessed and certified.

It says certification and or endorsement would require constant monitoring of the application of protocol plans and therefore it would need to be clearly specified what is being certified and for what duration. “The responsibility for assessment and certification has been taken on by the health ministry on behalf of the government and it will continue to implement at national level the required protocols and health regulations to which all business and operators in the tourism and hospitality industry must subscribe.” It is therefore recommended that establishments place signage with information at the entrance indicating the commitment to complying with coronavirus standard operating procedures to reassure guests. Among the measures further set out for establishments is that the facility may only be occupied to a capacity that would allow compliance with the required social distance between persons in all public areas. Establishments must obtain the full travel history of all customers, the document says. A variety of measures are also stipulated for restaurants, bars and cafes, which include the handling of food. One of the points made in this section is that the use of digital menus with QR codes should be promoted.

At casinos and gambling houses, the document recommends the constant cleaning of machines after every use. The handling of cash should be limited by encouraging e-payment, e-documentation and card payment. Furthermore, measures were set out for tour operators, airports and those involved in logistics, activities and transfer of tourists.

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