Wednesday 2020-08-12

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ETA ENFORCING COMPLIANCE TO NEW COVID-19 GUIDELINES

By Qondile Ntiwane | 2020-08-02

The Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) will dispatch health inspectors to advise and assist establishments to comply with the Eswatini Tourism COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines.

The ETA is currently running nationwide trainings that began with health inspectors on Tuesday at the Happy Valley Hotel, Ezulwini, to guarantee compliance.

Thereafter, the authority will conduct industry trainings in the four regions of the country; Shiselweni, Hhohho, Lubombo, and Manzini.  The roll-out of the trainings was endorsed by Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Acting Principal Secretary John Hlophe. 

“Safety is a critical aspect as the sector adapts to the new normal,” he said. 

After the regional trainings, ETA Chief Executive Officer Linda Nxumalo said they would then dispatch the health inspectors to ensure compliance. The health inspectors were drawn from the ministry of health, municipalities and ETA.

Nxumalo said the health inspectors would have access to any premises at any time, but noted that they were different from law enforcers  as their objective is to; advise and assist establishments to comply with the new guidelines. “Tourism thrives in a clean environment. But it is very important now more than any other time before for the industry to push health and safety because people’s lives are at stake. Therefore, we don’t want to take chances and gamble with people’s lives,” she said. 

ETA Head of Marketing Siboniso Madlopha added that they were pushing one key custom that; ‘the safety of people in this time goes beyond the economic benefit.’ 

“We have to use these guidelines to ensure that both staff and visitors are safe.

This can help us to rebuild trust and stimulate demand to sustain the industry in the new normal,” he said. ETA Product Development Officer Sipho Simelane explained that the health inspectors would be looking at compliance from reception to back offices, kitchens and lavatories, and at every visitor touch points.   

For instance, he said establishments are expected to guarantee; temperature screening for staff and guests, sanitisation of staff and guests, inform guests about existing protocols, social distancing and wearing of face masks, and have spare rooms for possible quarantine. 

Simelane said they had specific protocols that speak to; gambling, restaurants, staff areas, tour operators and travel agencies, conferences and events,  attractions and thematic parks.

“We also have draft procedures that will guide establishments in the event that a guest or staff exhibits COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Sipho Shongwe thanked the ETA for prioritising the health of visitors over economic benefits.

He also commended the coordination between the tourism industry and the ministry of health.

“We are happy that we were part and parcel of the Eswatini Tourism COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines when they were being prepared.

These guidelines are our new normal and we will be happy to help tourism industry players to meet the terms of the guidelines,” he said.

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