As demand for travel is steadily increasing, travel companies are considering the best way to resume service while keeping guests safe. In a combined effort, the leading tour operator associations; United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO), and the European Tourism Association (ETOA), have collaborated to develop a unified set of health and safety standards for tour operators called TOURCARE.
The TOURCARE initiative provides guidelines for tour operators across all levels of service to help them maintain appropriate sanitation standards and adhere to WHO, CDC, and local health protocols.
“By their very nature, tour products are complex, involving many different variables that are under the watchful eye of the tour operator, yet not every element fully under their control. We felt that our members – and the tour operator industry as a whole – would benefit from one set of guidelines developed with their specific needs top-of-mind,” said USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale, ETOA Chief Executive Tom Jenkins, and CATO Executive Director Pierre LaPage in a joint statement announcing the program.
“The TOURCARE Guidelines will help our tour operator members fulfill their mission to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their passengers while continuing to provide exceptional travel experiences in destinations around the world.”
The guidelines comprises training methods and sanitization protocols for customer-facing employees, equipping them with PPE’s and facilitating social distancing whenever possible.
It also lays out steps tour managers can take to further ensure the welfare of the tour, like asking guests to disclose their COVID-19 exposure prior to departure and agree to adhere to all recommended and required health and sanitization procedures including wearing of masks, gloves, and social distancing where appropriate.
Some of the protocols are:
- Promoting frequent hand washing for all staff and passengers.
- Promoting the use of face masks.
- Exercising social distancing where viable.
- Providing and promoting the use of hand sanitizers.
- Requiring a passenger health declaration form pre-travel.