Travel COVID Safe™ (TCS) is a new three-point accreditation specifically created to rebuild consumer confidence in travel and reactivate the hospitality industry. By providing a uniform set of health and hygiene based protocols, TCS is part of an advocacy accreditation consortium that addresses the lack of standards for COVID-19 safeness in the hospitality and tourism industry. TCS helps the travel industry win back the confidence of the US traveler by introducing stringent and rigorous health and hygiene standards based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization(WHO) guidelines that set the minimum requirement for traveler safety.
TCS accreditation is the only certification process that has three points of inspection by three distinct individuals. It is the only accreditation that incorporates a coaching process to help the organization get accredited. It is the only certification process that offers ongoing continuous support by alerting the accredited organization of standard changes that could affect operations. TCS is the gold standard for COVID travel safeness. The three points/audits include:
- WorkSuite™ Audit: Upon starting the accreditation process, TCS provides a virtual WorkSuite™ in which the organization works with an assigned coach. The coach will assist the organization by verifying the protocols submitted are compliant while also serving as a guide to the best practices from other accredited organizations. The coach serves as an ongoing auditor during the protocol documentation and procedure creation stage.
- Master Examiner Audit: After the work is finalized in the WorkSuite™ and validated by the coach, the protocols and procedures get sent to a master examiner that will independently evaluate them for compliance. If there are gaps, they get sent back to the WorkSuite™ for the coach and the organization to address. Otherwise, it continues to the Site Inspection stage.
- Site Inspection Audit: Following the completion of the WorkSuite™ and the Master Examiner audit, the organization should be ready for a live site inspection. Before the on-site inspection, their coach will make contact to prepare them for the final live inspection of the property/venue/location/operation.
To date, there have not been any rigorous standard certifications or accreditation’s developed for COVID-19’s safety, specifically for the tourism industry. Several countries and hotel chains have developed their propitiatory certifications, but the public perceives them as inherently biased as they made to entice tourists back. These propitiatory certifications also lack the uniformity that travelers seek (tourists do not want to learn about every country’s or hotel chain’s specific safety standards). From a global perspective, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has introduced the global Travel Safe protocols and stamp, a great beginning in establishing essential yet basic global uniformity in the industry. But the WTTC’s, as most of the independent country’s protocols, have no validation in place and are based on an honor system of self-assessment. The need for audits, on-site inspections, and a means of consumer feedback is fundamental in regaining the consumer’s confidence.
What sets TCS apart is that it is the first accreditation for the Travel and Tourism industry that:
- Designed for US traveler and for the markets looking to attract them
- Based on CDC and WHO health standards
- Provides ongoing guidance with changing regulations and guidelines that impact operations and thus allowing them to refocus on their services
- Contains three separate independent pre-accreditation audits and ongoing consumer reporting
- Rigorous yet facilitated accreditation that provides applicant organization an accreditation coach and access to the industry’s best practices
“We are excited to provide a solution that will win back the traveler’s confidence while minimizing COVID-related health risks. All of this is ultimately acting as a catalyst to help reactivate the tourism industry. The only way to start regaining the American traveler’s confidence in travel is by having a unified set of rigorous health standards that are uniform, relatable, and trusted, making travel safer yet still enjoyable. Travel COVID Safe does this precisely! It addresses these concerns with the highest accreditation level while still granting autonomy and evaluating organizations based on globally accepted CDC guidelines. TCS has been developed by Americans for the American traveler and organizations trying to cater to them,” says Terry Suero, Executive Director of Business Development.
Travel COVID Safe™ seeks to rebuild confidence by being the most stringent, reliable, and up-to-date seal of COVID safety for anyone looking to travel. The program also acknowledges the impact the pandemic has had on the travel and tourism workforce and thus aims to create local in-country employment by integrating them into the inspection process. The accreditation is for 3-years and the processing time can take anywhere from 3 – 4 weeks, depending on the line of business and how advanced the organization is with COVID safety standards. The cost of a 3-year accreditation is contingent on the nature of the organization and usually ranges between $1,500 to $7,500. For those organizations that do not want to get accredited but want access to the industry best practices, it is possible with the $19 per month Consortia Membership. The system in place is set across the board to assist all forms of the hospitality and tourism industry, which include but not limited to: hotels, small lodging, short term rentals, tour operators, car rentals, restaurants, and more.