Now travellers will be able to recognise the businesses and destinations worldwide which have adopted the new set of global protocols that will encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ around the world. It will, in turn, help the Travel and Tourism sector to reopen for business and move in a coordinated approach. - Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO
Were you planning a vacation anytime soon? Were your plans affected by the current pandemic? COVID-19 has put our world on pause, and as we start to recover and head onto our 'New Normal', it is essential to stay safe and healthy. With the holiday season coming up, travel curiosity kicks in again. Right now may not be the best time for an adventure, but for responsible getaways. In light of the new circumstances, everyone should strive to err on the side of caution and take all the necessary measures.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has given its seal of approval to the first Global Safety and Hygiene Stamp developed by The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The stamp can be assigned to countries, specific regions within a country, or even to hotels that apply and qualify. It allows globetrotters to identify destinations that have embraced standardized health and hygiene protocols (WTTC, 2020). Launched three months ago, over 100 destinations are now using the “Safe Travels” stamp. The protocols are updated regularly and consider current World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
With the WTTC’s Safety and Hygiene Seal and the number of COVID-19 cases as crucial parameters, we have compiled the top 10 safest stays, the crème de la crème of responsible travel.
The Philippines now holds the WTTC stamp. The breathtaking Boracay island, which is famous for its powdery white sands, cerulean waters, and beautiful sunsets, is the perfect paradisiac escape in the pacific. Crimson Hotels being operated under Hilton Worldwide, IHG and Accor, continue to follow government guidelines to maintain the best environment for its guests. Some of the measures include on-site medical teams, infrared temperature checks for guests, contactless payments, sneeze screens at reception, increased sanitizing of all public areas, and more.
Egypt, withthe Safe Travels Stamp, is the perfect destination to seek refuge from the cold weather approaching Europe. The Grand Makadi Hotel is under the Red Sea Hotels chain that has implemented strict hygiene and safety measures. For instance, services requiring close personal contact (spa, massage, hair treatment) remain closed, rooms are sanitized after guests check out and reallocated only after 48 hours. Temperature check practices are duly followed for all guests and staff at the entry of the hotel and all restaurants.
Belonging to the NH Hotel Group, this hotel is situated in Tunisia, one of the countries certified with the Safe Travels Stamp. NH Hotel Group has dedicated an entire section of its website to explain the measures against the spreading of COVID-19. For instance, a Digital Guest Relations service, personal protection equipment for guests, and the frequent inspection of ventilation systems.
If you’re craving the seaside, the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel in Croatia will be a good fit for you. With some of thelowest COVID-19 cases in Europe and having been awarded the Safe Travels stamp, Croatia welcomes all EU citizens. By offering an online check-in and reservation service, the hotel decreases the risk of infection through contact. Furthermore, every part of the hotel is thoroughly disinfected every day.
The Cancun Region has maintained low COVID-19 numbers at 7,057. Beloved Hotels, a romance hotel situated in Playa Mujeres, Cancun, has been certified with the Safe Travels Stamp by the WTTC. The resort has been working closely with an expert agency providing consulting and auditing in health standards even before COVID-19 became a global issue. Furthermore, Beloved Hotel’s own Health and Safety Committee has implemented new safety measures that will be easy for guests to follow.
Costa Rica is a country on the Safe Travels Stamp list that has reopened its borders to tourists travelling from the Schengen zone in October 2020. The Andaz Costa Rica Resorts ensures that you can enjoy the country’s breathtaking and well-preserved nature while following the World Health Organization’s safety and health instructions. The resort has taken extra care by suspending services for a prolonged period, soon reopening for its first travellers. Furthermore, as a part of Hyatt Group, Andaz has enhanced their cancellation policies and the World of Hyatt Loyalty program benefits to provide travellers with more flexibility and show their gratitude during these uncertain times.
Situated in Santorini, a Greek Island with less than 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the management of the Hotel Aethrio kindly invites their guests to enjoy their stunning island without the cruise ships and mass tourism it is usually plagued with. To ensure their guest’s safety, the hotel ensures a contactless check-in and check-out and procedure, has replaced buffets with à la carte menus and limits pool capacity. Rooms have natural ventilation while public areas have independent air conditioning units, with certified control, ensuring the renewal of air directly from the outside environment.
Aruba has implemented requirements such as a negative test in addition to holding the Safe Travels Stamp making it the perfect spot in the Caribbean to unwind. The Bucuti & Tara resort implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 protocol tested with ICU doctors and nurses for three months before borders reopening to ensure that all guests stay healthy and enjoy a comfortable vacation. Complete sterilization of the guest room using hospital-grade hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution, an ionizer treatment and a premium UV air, and surface sanitizer are part of their extra care.
Portugal was the first European country to receive the WTTC Hygiene and Standardized Health Protocols Stamp. Madeira Island has up to 12 times fewer cases of COVID-19 per million inhabitants than any other European destination, making it the perfect haven for enjoying your holiday. The Savoy Signature team created a safety and prevention measures document aligned with WHO guidelines. Guests are provided with personal protection kits, procedure compliance booklets, and WhatsApp (contactless) assistance.
With several locations throughout Dubai, this hotel chain has shown remarkable measures by introducing a ‘Protection and Prevention’ programme that maps guests’ journey from check-in to check-out at the property and identifies sanitation and social distancing areas. In addition, JA stays transparent with its guests by constantly updating them about the current situation on their website. Finally, it is important to mention that both, the UAE and JA Resorts, have been certified with the Safe Travels Stamp.
Safe travels & bon voyage!
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