Dealing with guests in ‘new normal’

The Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) has released a set of guidelines for post-COVID-19 handling of guests by tour operators and keeping them safe and secure during the trip. The document also includes hotels in its ambit, suggesting measures that can be followed to keep guests safe.

Manas Dwivedi

Sharing information about the launch of the guidelines, in a tweet ATOAI stated that these will serve as recommendations for the safe handling of guests in a post-COVID-19 world. The intended audience for these guidelines is tour operators and accommodation providers, including hotels, resorts and homestays. This document is not intended to serve as the definitive mandate for these operations, nor is it intended to cover every aspect of accommodation and tour operator businesses. These guidelines are only a collection of data assimilated from various sources and are not a statutory or compliance document for any approvals, recommendations, certifications, proof or reference.

ATOAI has focussed on the most common guest touchpoints, collating publicly-available information from a variety of sources. One should also not expect that following these guidelines guarantees no infection. The guidelines talk about receiving guests by following certain protocols laid out as safe practices in the post-COVID-19 world. The tour operators should follow all the guidelines and safety measures, as prescribed in the document. Focus has also been laid on the transport of guests and norms to be followed.

From the hotel perspective, the guidelines talk about things to be followed at the reception area, and during check-in and check-out. It also focuses on the use of public services like restrooms, elevators, gyms, spas, pools and business centres. At all such areas, the guidelines focus on routine cleaning and sanitising frequently-visited areas regularly. Apart from these, it also carries point of instructions which can be followed at restaurants. While taking guests on a trip, it is advised to brief them on the place to be visited and expected crowds. Suggestions should be offered as emphasis should be given on guests take personal responsibility of their own safety.

While talking about adventure activities, the guidelines ask to maintain proper social distancing during most outdoor excursions. Small groups should be promoted in place of large groups. Visitor numbers should be tightly controlled in activities where there is physical proximity such as a wildlife safari in a vehicle or rafting, so as to maintain adequate distancing between guests.

Apart from this, the guidelines also recommend products which can be used as disinfection solutions at various touchpoints and locations. At last, suggested templates are shared which can be used to communicate with guests on their arrival.


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