COVID-19: As tourism establishments prepare to receive guests |20 June 2020
Health and safety officers equipped with knowledge to implement new guidelines
After the COVID-19 pandemic had brought the world to a standstill, things are gradually getting back to normal with movement restrictions being lifted, countries opening their borders and life generally resuming, although strict health measures remain.
As a small nation heavily dependent on tourism, the Seychelles islands have been especially affected by the halt in travel. Now that several countries are reopening their borders, Seychelles is now focused on resuming operations with the tourism department’s robust plan, which aims to ensure the safety of both visitors and locals.
The plan comprises several health guidelines which are crucial in ensuring that our country remains free of COVID-19. The efficient implementation of these guidelines in tourism establishments around the country will dictate whether they will receive the necessary approval to resume their services in welcoming back international tourists.
The health and tourism departments have thus organised a series of workshops around the country which aim at equipping health and safety officers with knowledge and skills for implementation of the new guidelines. It will also strengthen their capacity to conduct surveillance of visitors at their respective establishments, improve case detection and reporting as well as improving collaboration between the tourism and health sectors.
Six sessions have been conducted on Mahé which included establishments from the outer islands and this week, inner islands establishments had the opportunity to attend the workshop. Almost 100 establishments were present on Praslin and 40 on La Digue. Tourism establishments have welcomed the workshop which shall greatly help them in their quest to reopen their doors in a safe manner. They also seized the opportunity to share their concerns with regards to the guidelines.
Tourism establishments will now be required to design a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in accordance to the specificities of their operation that will allow better adherence to the set guidelines. The SOPs shall be handed to the department of tourism for reviewing and assessment by both departments of tourism and health. Should all necessary conditions be satisfied, a ‘Safe Tourism’ certificate shall be issued which will allow establishments to receive international visitors. The establishments are also expected to continuously screen all visitors and locals’ movements which shall be reported to the health department on a daily basis.
The department of health has been working tirelessly even before the first COVID-19 case was registered in Seychelles on March 14, 2020, and it counts on the support of all stakeholders to make this fight against COVID-19 successful.
“We are very satisfied with the turnout and enthusiasm of the participants. They have been very receptive which demonstrate their understanding of the importance of the newly introduced guidelines,” Rodney Philo, director of public health services, shared.
Additional sessions are scheduled to be held in the upcoming weeks due to high demand.
The accompanying photos were taken by Nadia Bedier.