COVID-19: SON to issue safety standards for tourism industry

By Felix Khanoba

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is to deploy a well developed Standards that would help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the nation’s tourism sector.

The draft Standards on Health and Safety Measures for Tourism and Hospitality Establishments – Post COVID-19 Resumption, would also help the tourism to rebound in full force when all the necessary lockdown measures are eased off or lifted by the government.

This was made known during a meeting of the National Mirror Committee on Tourism, aimed at finding a common ground to revive the tourism industry.

A statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by Mr Bola Fashina, Head, Public Relations of SON, said Chairperson of the Committee and the Director General of the National Institute for Hotels and Tourism, Mrs. Chika Balogun, harped on the need for stakeholders to join forces towards overcoming the challenges posed on the sector by COVID-19.

Welcoming members to the first sitting after the ease of lock down by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Director, Standards Development, Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, noted that the tourism sector has been adversely affected by the pandemic.

She said the National Mirror Committee was expected to oversee a comeback by the sector through deliberations on the draft Standards and the eventual implementation.

Represented by the Group Head, Service Standards; Engr. Ayoola Ololade, the Director stated that SON was ready to work with stakeholders to see the Tourism revamped by ensuring all is put in place for activities to pick when the lockdown is eased.

In a short presentation, Mrs. Chidinma Ewuzie, the Technical Secretary to the National Mirror Committee explained the reasons for the guidelines, stressing that the move is aimed towards improving on safety, boost confidence of guests and establish a monitoring control to limit the spread of the virus.

The draft guidelines apply to tourism sector’s establishments such as hotels, restaurants, conferences/meetings/event centers, tour operators/travel agents/tourist information centres, airlines, beaches, among others.

The virtual meeting had in attendance members drawn from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria, Institute of Tourism Professionals, Association of Tourism and Hospitality Consultants in Nigeria, Institute of Hospitality UK.

Others are National Association of Catering Institute/ Lagos State Post COVID-19 Pandemic Review Committee, Gadeshire Travels and Tours Limited Nigeria, Goge Africa, Hotel Human Capital and W. Hospitality.

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