Vanuatu tourism businesses are going through the certification process to get ‘Clean, Caring and Checked’ under the SBO checking process, undertaken by the Vanuatu Government Department of Tourism.
To date 148 businesses on Efate and its offshore islands have undergone the SBO training, developed through the Safe Business Operation Coalition:
“The Safe Business Operations training and Clean, Caring & Checked certification will eventually become an integral component of the accreditation process for any tourism businesses operating throughout Vanuatu,” says Ms. Geraldine Tari, Acting Director of the Government’s Department of Tourism.
“We want businesses to operate under high health and safety standards when we do reopen our borders. We want International visitors to return and have confidence in the quality of our services and products, as a tourism destination. Health and Safety has always been a key component in raising tourism standards and this is reflected in the Tourism Crisis Recovery and Response Plan developed and approved in 2020 where health and safety is 1 of 5 pillars. This pandemic has made us re-look at how we perceive health and safety not just for our visitors but also the wellbeing our people, our businesses and our nation, with particular focus on frontline staff”, added Acting Director Tari.
A year after the launching of the Safe Business Operations guidelines, Vanuatu tourism businesses are completing the final stage and audit process to receive their “Clean, Caring and Checked’ certifications. This process gives businesses recognition as a COVID-safe business and helps keep both staff and their families and visitors safe.
The vaccination of staff members within the business also becomes a measure of achieving the “Clean, Caring and Checked’ certification.
“The Vanuatu Tourism Office congratulates all those operators and staff on completion of their Safe Business Operations Training. These are significant and critical steps in ensuring we are tourism ready.” Says Ms. Adela Issachar Aru, Chief Executive Officer of the Vanuatu Tourism Office.
Through the SBO Coalition, which is a collaboration between the Department of Tourism (DoT), the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP), the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and World Vision, more than 300 tourism businesses and 2,000 non-tourism businesses across Vanuatu have received Safe Business Operations training.
Under the current national lockdown, training and certification checks for tourism businesses will continue using online tools, to keep the program moving forward. The Department of Tourism along with other partners are positive that more operators will complete the certification process in the coming months and more businesses will come out of hibernation to prepare for border reopening.
Vanuatu’s Safe Business Operations (SBO) guidelines are modelled on similar programs across Australia and New Zealand. The training program covers enhanced cleaning and protection measures, personal hygiene measures, and provides correct information sources on Covid-19. This is the baseline requirement for all hospitality and tourism staff. Everyone will be doing this from the mamas selling handicrafts in the markets to bus drivers, housekeepers, and tour guides. Air Vanuatu staff are also active participants in the program as are airport staff.
Each workplace will have a COVID-19 safety officer. This person is responsible for safety in the workplace, liaising with authorities and staying up to date with Health messaging and guidelines. They will learn about the Vanuatu Alert Outbreak system and what it means for them as individuals and businesses. This is an enhanced level of training and responsibility.
The preparation of a Covid-19 safety plan specifically designed for their business is a requirement at supervisory level training.