Dhaka: As the world begins to gradually resume domestic and international tourism services after months of lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic, the same can be hoped for Bangladesh any time soon. Already the government partly resumed domestic flight operations and the hospitality industry also reopened its doors to welcome guests. On this note, Pacific Asia Travel Association Bangladesh Chapter, on June 8, prepared a set of recommendations to submit for hygiene safety and operational protocols for tourism service providers amid this virus outbreak.
The SOP aims to be helpful in operating inbound, domestic and other tourism and hospitality related services. Prioritising health, hygiene and safety of the guests, PATA BD Chapter tries to identify and reduce the risk factors with this SOP. To minimise the probability of direct human contact or human touch issue, PATA BD Chapter suggests digitisation services.
The recommendations include:
Give utmost importance to inbound and domestic tourism stakeholders. Hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants etc are highly sensitive public areas. Therefore, the stakeholders should prepare their own SOP aligned with government guidelines. The government is to generate detailed guidelines as it has for certain sectors and also provide health and hygiene standard certification to ensure quality. Government approved health and hygiene certified restaurant, bars, cafes will be eligible to serve foreign tourists and the list should be published in the website of BTB.
"Doctor on Call" facility shall be ensured in all tourist places where tourist service providers operate to. An emergency phone number should be provided for medical emergency in all tourist destinations.
Simple training modules and materials (animated audio-visual) have to be displayed.
If any tourist found COVID-19 positive on/after arrival then his/her hotel fare shall be waived by 50 per cent by the hotel and BTB shall extend all necessary support until the report turns negative.
Sanitisation, disinfectant and safety providing stuff such as masks, hand sanitisers, face shields, gloves, goggles, pulse oximeters, digital infrared thermometer, disposable waste bags etc are to be made available on every site.
Ministry of Health, Tourist Police, Civil Surgeon and Municipalities (district, thana and union level) have to be involved to ensure hygiene safety at hotels, motels, restaurants, sight-seeing sports, tourist vehicles-vessels etc.
Sincere attention is required on on-arrival visas and e-visa services to develop and promote cross-border, regional and short-haul tourist markets. Thus, solo/FIT tourists, adventure seekers, volunteers, business travellers etc are to be encouraged to come and visit the country.
On-arrival visa for a minimum of 15 days to visitors of any nation (except Pakistan and Israel) or any individual having the visa of any SAARC country except Pakistan should be issued.
Animated audio visual presentations on Paharpur, Mahasthangar, Bagerhat, Sundarbans and other World Heritage and National Heritage sites should be promoted.
Tourist Resilient Zones should be designated as Red, Yellow and Green zones based on the rate of transmission of the virus in each area.
The responsibility of conducting the PCR test of service providers in and around tourist spots in remote areas should be taken by Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and Tourist Police.
A list of tourism service providers (hotels, motels, resorts, transport companies, tourist guides, tour companies, restaurants etc) must be prepared certified by BTB based on the terms of health and hygiene.
An audio visual documentation on air/land port SOP on COVID-19 should be made and promoted on the internet and govt website. Printed handouts should also be distributed among all tourism stakeholders, including missions/embassies abroad and international agencies.
Post COVID-19 tourism product list should be prepared as per the protocol. Less crowded destinations or popular activities could be included in the list such as Sundarbans, Chittagong Hill Tracts, River based tours, Archaeological Sites, Museums etc which fall in Green Zone. Crowded destinations like urban and village bazaars, any type of festivals, slums, ports or stations etc should fall in the unsafe or Red Zone.
Apart from these, PATA BD Chapter's SOP also has detailed recommendations for individual sectors and operations such as office premises; office staff; taking accounts of bookings, client details, transport facilities, guests' arrivals and departures for airport, land port and sea/river port; meeting, greeting and transferring guests to hotels/river ports/terminals etc; tourist vessels (transfer, day-cruise, voyage); guides, assistants, custodians, rangers, escorts, tour operator; hotels, motels, resorts; restaurants, cafes, bars, conventional hall; service staff, museums, aquariums, exhibition hall, galleries, amusement parks and others.