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Health & safety standards have been thrust into the spotlight

Once a relatively invisible part of the guest experience, health and safety standards have been thrust into the spotlight as the travel industry prepares to resume operations in the wake of Covid-19. This is just highlights of some of the enhancements being implemented.

COVID-19 has upended the traditional dynamic of traveler loyalty. While travelers used to rack up points to determine the level of service they experienced, health, hygiene and safety is the new currency for earning customer trust.  Travel companies have been quick to act.  

 All international travelers must have Covid negative test to enter the USA

Safe Travels: Global Safety Stamp to Recognise Safe Travels Protocols.. The specially designed stamp will allow travellers to recognise governments and companies around the world which have adopted the SafeTravels health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

The U.S. Travel Association has launched a new Travel Confidently Toolkit featuring industry guidance for promoting the health and safety of all travelers, including enhanced sanitation, redesigned public spaces, improved health screening measures and much more.

TSA implementing virus-related procedures. TSA is now allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer up to 12oz. in carry-on bags until further notice. Other new enhanced procedures listed here.  

Airports around the world have had to step up health and safety measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic over the past year. The Safe Travel Barometer looks at more than 30 initiatives across three sub-categories—COVID-19 safety protocols, traveler convenience and service excellence—for hundreds of airports around the world, including things like coronavirus testing facilities, disinfection frequency, thermal screening and more. Here's a look at the top-performing U.S. airports as of February 2021.  The Pandemic has given rise to airline health safety ratings! Rating services include websites SkytraxSafe Travel Barometer and the aptly named Airline Ratings.

  • Airlines in North America, Asia, and Europe have announced mandatory temperature screenings for their fliers. The new policies are part of a larger push among air carriers to implement new health and safety policies as air travel begins a nascent reopening in some regions of the world that have bounced back from the pandemic.
  • Expanding electrostatic spraying to all aircraft before departure, in addition to the extensive cleaning measures already in place to sanitize high-touch areas before every flight and the use of state-of-the-art air circulation systems with HEPA filters on many Delta aircraft that extract more than more than 99.999% of viruses.

  • Adjusting the boarding process to encourage more space for safer travel by boarding all flights from back-to-front – reducing the instances of customers needing to pass by one another to reach their seats.
  • Providing supplies directly to customers when available,  including  hand sanitizers, amenity kits  and other protective equipment

Cruise ships have been actively working with the CDC to ensure they are in strict compliance with government safety regulations once the No-Sail Order is lifted on July 24th. 
All cruise ships have stepped up their cleaning and disinfecting before every voyage in accordance with company protocols developed in partnership with the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program. Many cruise ships are upgrading their air filters to HEPA medical-grade air filtration systems that eliminate 99.95 percent of airborne pathogens. Enhanced screening, temperature checks and on-board medical care will be required for every cruise ship moving forward. Service changes have also been made to ensure responsible social distancing including limiting capacity and staggered check-ins.

Changes that you might see on cruise lines: 

  • The high-touch cruise industry is in reinvention mode with innovations such as robot crew members; hidden features that allow cabins to convert to hospital rooms; and discreet wearable devices for crowd control, digital casinos, and robot crew members are just a few of the interventions being pursued by ship designers. 
  • Enhanced health screening at check-in. Staggered embarkation and online check-in will be implemented to allow for physical distancing. 
  • Reduce passenger capacity and limit guest counts in public areas. 

  • Touchless temperature checks throughout each cruise to identify potential health issues. The checks will occur upon returning to the ship from a port of call, prior to all meals in dining venues and all activities in public venues, and before disembarkation. 

  • Ships will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to every cruise with standards developed in partnership with the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program

  • Use electrostatic sprayers

Motorcoach Guided Vacation

  • Drivers are trained with latest hygiene protocols and will clean and disinfect all surfaces including handrails,door handles, tables, seats, air-conditioning filters and overhead lockers on a daily basis
  • Hand sanitizer free available on board
  • Adapting to the right size groups, based on government distancing requirements. Clients can rest assured that they will travel with the comfort of their own personal space and have peace of mind that all of the experiences, hotels and restaurants they will enjoy on their trip have been vetted to ensure they adhere to physical distancing and hygiene guidelines required in each jurisdiction.
  • Flexibility at mealtime

  • The Travel Corporation plans to add “wellbeing directors” to all group trips operating under its Trafalgar, Luxury Gold and Insight Vacations brands. The wellbeing directors will make sure guests, staff and suppliers are following health and safety protocols aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

United States Tour Operators Association and other major tour associations set guidelines for resuming safe operations, some of the protocols are:

  • Promoting frequent hand washing for all staff and passengers.
  • Promoting the use of face masks.
  • Exercising social distancing where viable.
  • Providing and promoting the use of hand sanitizers.
  • Requiring a passenger health declaration form pre-travel.

 

World Travel & Tourism Council unveils “Safe Travels” Stamp  The stamp allows travelers to identify which destinations around the world have adopted standardized global health and hygiene protocols so they can experience “Safe Travels.” This landmark move by WTTC also received the backing of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Safe Travels stamp has been received by:  Turkey, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ontario,  Croatia, Ecuador and Ghana, Cañada, Portugal, Saudi Arabia  Egypt, Slovenia, Ukraine, Iceland, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Colombia and Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Portugal, Maldives, and the Mexican destinations of Baja California Sur and the Yucatan.  
 

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has endorsed the Airport Health Accreditation program, which the global trade group Airports Council International (ACI) inaugurated last week. With the program, the ACI is seeking to set consistent global standards for airport health measu

  • New embarkation procedures, including mandatory health screenings, touch-free temperature checks, and luggage disinfection, prior to onboarding.
  • Add hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship 
  • New technologies such as Electrostatic cleaning systems and UV disinfecting systems will be introduced as well.
  • Guests and crew will be supplied with masks for use, as needed or required.
  • More space for social distancing including reducing ship capacity and alternative dining venues.
  • Buffets and self-serve stations will be replaced with crew services.
  • Some new steps to ship cleaning procedures include deep-cleaning and disinfection of each stateroom during turnover – including soft goods, disinfection of all dining areas between meals, and disinfection of shared items such as bicycles or umbrellas after each use.
  • The  crew will be required to pass medical screenings and certificates of health, and there will be new social distancing in crew living quarters and ongoing training in PPE use and hygiene.
  • And air circulation will be another focal point of the plan—the air on  ships is not circulated between staterooms, only within an individual stateroom and mixed with fresh, outside air, the river cruise line said.
     

  • Hilton Hotels offers contactless hotel stays; staff at the Marriott now clean with electrostatic sprayers; Accor introduced ALLSAFE for elevated cleanliness protocols and prevention standards; IHG created a dedicated Cleanliness Council called “Commitment to Clean”
  • Use of thermal cameras to steer away people with high temperatures;
  • Altered layouts to ensure social distancing.
  • Masks worn by all employees.
  • Training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols with more comprehensive training for teams with frequent guest contact, such as housekeeping and food and beverage.
  • Other changes may include suspending valet services, no longer having employees open the doors of cars or taxis, and having an employee present on elevators to sanitize the button panels at regular intervals, at least once per hour.
  • Each guest will receive an amenity bag during check-in containing masks, hand sanitizer and a COVID-19 awareness card, and a spray bottle of sanitizer or wipes will be provided in each room.
  • AMResorts - beachfront resorts (click to read)
  • Four Season Introduces Lead With Care (click to read)

TRAVEL NOTICES AND ALERTS US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
 

HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS AND INFORMATION    CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC)  
MORE INFORMATION HERE                                         TRAVELERS HEALTH INFORMATION

WORLD TRAVEL AND TOURISM COUNCIL