Proudly contributed by Marissa Carruthers
“My health and safety is going to be my top priority when I can travel again, and this will play a big part in where I choose to go,” says 32-year-old Malaysian business consultant and frequent traveller Putri Fazura.
She echoes the thoughts of many. Hoping to recapture the confidence of tourists like Fazura, Thailand is positioning itself as the number one safe destination to visit when travel restarts. Authorities have said they will roll out measures to keep visitors safe.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to create a Security and Health Administration (SHA) certification to boost confidence for tourists once borders reopen and travel resumes. The idea behind it is to ensure visitors to the country are kept safe from the moment they step off a plane until they leave, while also protecting industry workers.
Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor for international marketing at TAT, says the move is one of the first of its kind in the world, and he expects many countries to follow. “This is a proposal for all tourist businesses to adhere to certain guidelines and regulations concerning hygiene. Eventually, every country should have one,” says Chattan.
The Amazing Thailand SHA certification will target 10 types of business related to the tourism industry to ensure they commit to strict safety measures: restaurants and cafes; accommodation providers; amusement and recreation parks; transport operators; travel agents and tour operators; spas, wellness resorts and retreats; department stores and shops; golf courses and driving ranges; theatres; cinemas and souvenir shops.
Measures required to attain certification include hand sanitiser being available in all public areas, adequate hand soap in restrooms, maintaining high standards of cleanliness, and ensuring sufficient ventilation.
“This is one of the most revolutionary moves we can make at this time,” says Chattan. “This is a positive step, not only in creating confidence but in really ensuring we protect the people who depend on the tourism industry, work in the industry and those who visit us.”
Chattan says once restrictions are lifted across the country, the immediate focus will be on domestic tourism. TAT hopes countries in the region will see the efforts being made to create a safe environment for visitors and feel confident about their citizens travelling to Thailand.
“We need to get that travel momentum going,” he says. “We believe it will have a carry-on effect as more Thais travel and feel safe. Then Asean countries will feel safe coming to us, depending on border entries and air travel.”
Read the full article at South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/travel-leisure/article/3085461/health-and-safety-come-first-tourism-thailand-when-travel