USTOA, Others Unveil New Health and Safety Guidelines for Tour Operators

Three of the world’s leading tour operator associations have joined forces to roll out a comprehensive set of health and sanitization guidelines specifically designed for tour operators restarting business amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the European Tourism Association (ETOA) recently collaborated to develop the TOURCARE Guidelines for Tour Operators to protect their members’ employees and travelers from the transmission of COVID-19.

The guidelines cover all touch-points of a trip, including staff, suppliers and passengers and include procedures based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in addition to local government health authorities.

For example, each staff member coming in contact with travelers should be outfitted with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and practice and promote social distancing.

Meanwhile, tour operators are advised to ask customers to disclose any COVID-19 exposure prior to departure and request that they agree to follow all necessary health and sanitization protocols such as wearing face-coverings, gloves and social distancing when appropriate.

TOURCARE Guidelines for Tour Operators also encourage members to work with suppliers who comply with local health and government authority requirements and use touch-less systems for ticketing and processing when possible.

“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,” USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale, ETOA Chief Executive Tom Jenkins and CATO Executive Director Pierre LaPage said in a joint statement accompanying Thursday’s announcement. “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.”

“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.”

USTOA, CATO and ETOA have each shared the guidelines with all of their tour operator members. The “TC” logo will serve as a badge of compliance that members can display on their websites and other communication with suppliers, travelers and travel advisors.

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