The UK and US travel industries are coming up with new ways to reassure people it is safe to travel once lockdowns have been lifted and boost tourism.
The travel industry around the world has suffered enormously as people are staying at home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Now, the industry is worried that people will be afraid to travel even when they are allowed to do so by the government.
Creating a social distancing industry standard mark
Visit Britain, the UK’s tourist authority is planning to introduce a physical distancing standards symbol for attractions and hotels. This symbol will help to reassure travellers that it is safe to visit that location.
Visit Britain’s acting CEO Patricia Yates said in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that she believes there will “be a real shift in where we are in consumer behaviour now.”
Visit Britain is going to talk to ministers to persuade them to encourage tourism after lockdown.
She would like the government to “be just as clear when they start announcing the lifting of lockdown that it is socially responsible to go out and travel.”
There is a fear that after such a concerted campaign telling people to stay at home, people will be afraid to go back out. Another campaign may be needed to encourage people to leave their homes when the government says it is safe to do so.
— VisitEnglandBiz (@VisitEnglandBiz) May 6, 2020
US safety procedures to inspire confidence in travellers
The US Travel Association has released a document that will help “inspire confidence in travellers by demonstrating travel businesses are appropriately focused on their health and safety.”
This document has been created by hotels, airports, attractions, restaurants, travel advisors, medical experts and more to create a “core set” of safety guidelines. These are based on a phased approach to reopening travel.
Some of the guidelines include:
- Implementing a strategy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for staff and customers. This includes extra hygiene measures, using PPE and encouraging social distancing through signage and reconfiguring public spaces.
- Implementing touchless solutions where possible for ticketing, check-in, payment and more.
- Adopting enhanced sanitisation procedures. Hand sanitiser should be provided in public spaces and public areas, especially high-touch surfaces should be cleaned more frequently.
- Promoting health screening for employees. Review your policy to allow staff to stay home more easily if they have symptoms.
- Encouraging customers not to travel if they are ill
- Following best practices in food and beverage.
Finally, the document highlights that this is a “shared responsibility” and travellers and the travel industry must both do their part to defeat COVID-19.
Not all attractions are going to be able to reopen under the new plans, as social distancing reduces capacity. Dreamland Margate has announced that it is will not reopen for the 2020 season.
A new platform has been launched to support companies within the tourism industry called HTTA.US. It will connect those within the industry who have lost their jobs and help them maintain connections with key organisations and associations.
Image: Visit Britain