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Tuesday, 15-09-2020

Covid restart actions for DEOs

As many of you hopefully start to re-open your businesses, or plan to, your way of operating will be completely different. There’s an overwhelming amount information around to help you work out how you should be keeping yourself, your staff and your customers as safe as possible. What we’ve found, though, is a lot of it is very detailed and doesn’t actually tell you, as a Destination Experience Operator, what your high level process should be. Below are bunch of links to various resources to help you. Some of it is information overload, some of it is very technical, some of it won’t apply to you. All of it quite heavy reading! Not many people start a tour operators business because they like doing risk assessments and writing policies – it comes with the territory, but not many operators are safety or hygiene experts. The good news is – you don’t need to be. We’ve written a step by step approach to what you need to be doing to protect your business and your customers as you plan your post-covid operations. So, before you worry about how often you need to wipe down seats or what chemicals you need to use or get lost in the maze of online Covid advice, here are some relatively simple, but key, steps all Destination Experience Operators should be taking as you get ready to get back to business: 1 – Understand your local legislation This is the simple starting point and one I’m sure all operators are anxiously reviewing daily. Guidelines and legislation will vary by region and by the type of experience you offer, so see your normal legislation resource (if you’re not sure what/who they are, let us know, we’re happy to point you in the right direction). 2 - Talk to your insurers Ok, it won’t be the most fun conversation you have all year, but it may be the most important and a good relationship with your insurers is vital. You need to end the call knowing exactly what they expect of you in order not to invalidate your cover. In our experience insurers are happy that you talk to them and a good relationship, where you can demonstrate you’re taking mitigating steps, can lead to lower premiums. 3 – Do risk assessments specific to your experience(s) Risk Assessments form a crucial part of your process to keep everyone safe and operating your business in general. They help you understand where the risks are and helps you mitigate them. Some resellers will also require them now as a condition of listing your experience. 4 - Re-draft your business safety / hygiene policy This doesn’t have to be a particularly in-depth document, but does need to detail the steps you will take and the procedures you will follow, which will now be different, based on the findings of your risk assessments. And they can be quite broad, for example if you’re operating multi day tours, your policy may say “ we will only use hotels with published covid-19 procedures in place”. The key when writing a safety policy is simplicity and next steps. Keep your documented actions simple and note down what your next steps will be. For example, if your policy states “A supplier must have documented covid-19 control measure in place”, then your next line should be what you will do about it if they don’t. e.g. “If no covid-29 measures are in place, we will not contract that supplier/visit that venue”. (a very simplified example, but demonstrates the point of a safety policy which is to state your actions and reactions). 5 – Train your staff / alter your delivery procedures If you’ve retained staff during this crisis, they will need full training on all the procedures you’ve put in place. You will need to revise your operational manuals/guidelines or instructions to third parties to be inline with your new safety procedures. Document and file the training/delivery details. 6 – Reassure your customers Reassurance communication has become so much more important in our covid world. Your customers have to know you’re on top of their safety, and have all angles covered. But equally you need them to know your expectations of their behaviour when they are with you. You need to weave your key safety messages/requirements in at all stages of their journey with you – enquiry stage, booking, pre-tour and during operations. It is best practise to share with customers your local region/country’s travel advice, so they are fully informed. Those are the core actions you need to take, they don’t have to be too laborious and, again, we can help if you’re struggling. A further key tip - it’s critical you document and file all of the above actions, treat it as if you are building a defense for a future legal case ... because, actually, that’s exactly what you are doing! Keep detailed notes of your call with your insurers and email them the notes afterwards. The most challenging thing about the current situation is that it is constantly evolving, so you’ll need to keep any eye on changing guidelines for your region and amend your documentation/procedures accordingly. Here are just a few handy links to give you more information. Just a warning … there is an absolute minefield of information and advice out there right now, and the below links are a tiny fraction of what you can find. Our best advice, is stick to the steps above and use the resources online to help you shape your own policy and procedures - don't get bogged down in the detail unless you are operating an experience that requires it. Remember to stick to what is relevant to you. Resources: International Interactive world map, with at a glance travel restrictions - https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/international-travel-document-news/1580226297.htm The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has pulled together an incredible list of information here - https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/tourism-policy-responses-to-the-coronavirus-covid-19-6466aa20/ including a breakdown of each countries response and policies, with links to their relevant government's webistes. Kudos to the OECD for this! The EU were quite early with their guidance and it covers a lot of bases. COVID-19: EU Guidance for the progressive resuming of tourism services and for health protocols in hospitality establishments - https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52020XC0515%2803%29 . It’s hefty, but does contain some decent practical tips. The UN World Tourism Organization is another amazing resource that you could get lost for hours in - https://www.unwto.org/restarting-tourism United States US Govt have published the following advice - https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf USTA have produce a detailed PDF - https://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/media_root/document/HealthandSafetyGuidance.pdf The CDC have produced guidelines for many industries, the most relevant to the majority of operators currently are their bus transit guidelines - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/bus-transit-operator.html Canada Transport Canada has issued the following guidance: https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-road-issued-transport-canada The Hotel Association of Canada has released guidelines too - https://www.hac-covid.com/ UK The UK Govt has issued advice for travellers here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus UK Legislation and guidance updates here - https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/coronavirus-information-councils/covid-19-service-information/covid-19-culture-tourism Scottish legislation and guidance - https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/ Welsh Legislation and guidance - https://gov.wales/tourism-and-hospitality-businesses-guidance-phased-reopening Visit Britain have a wide ranging resource here - https://www.visitbritain.org/covid-19-new-coronavirus-latest-information-and-advice-for-businesses Australia https://www.australia.com/en-gb/travel-alerts/coronavirus.html New Zealand New Zealand have wrapped their advice up neatly here - https://www.tourismnewzealand.com/news/covid-19/ Africa ATTA have worked with UK heavyweight H&S companies, Tranquilico and Sanderson Phillips, to create a comprehensive set of gudielines - https://www.atta.travel/member-news/2020/06/covid19-good-practice-guidance-documents-for-suppliers-may-2020/ Mexico Mexico has produced a traffic light system and each state has their own stage which can be found here - https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/reinounido/index.php/en/view-more/1776-tourism-guidelines-for-international-visitors-upon-their-arrival-in-mexico Museums https://cimam.org/news-archive/precautions-museums-during-covid-19-pandemic/


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