Belize And Chaa Creek Are Making Healthy Vacations Safer with 9 Point Safety Standards Checklist
No one can say for sure when international travel will resume, but Belize’s leading role in confronting and containing the Coronavirus, combined with new, stringent safety measures, have the little country poised for the earliest and safest resumption of tourism.
Having taken early and effective measures to secure its borders, and enacting legislation to enforce social distancing and quarantining, Belize became the last country in the Americas to report infections, and the first to become COVID-free. As of 29 June 2020, Belize has reported a total of only 24 cases since the pandemic began.
Low population density, with some 25% of land and territorial waters set aside as protected wilderness, a culture of cooperation, and nature-based tourism all contributed to the relatively low impact the global pandemic has had on Belize.
And now, as Belize’s tourism Industry looks towards cautiously reopening, resorts, hotels, restaurants and the hospitality sector are working with government to ensure that Belize maintains its global reputation for sustainable tourism and safe, responsible travel.
The latest example of this commitment is the Belize Tourism Board’s release of mandatory operating procedures for the tourism and hospitality industry, including the Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program.
Balancing stringent protocols with a relaxed, carefree visitor experience, the program includes a nine-point checklist that The Lodge at Chaa Creek has enthusiastically embraced:
- Select a Gold Standard Program Manager to act as a liaison between the Ministry of Health, employees and guests, and to oversee the implementation of new protocols on site.
- Ensure that all individuals on property adhere to face-mask requirements and social-distancing guidelines while occupying public areas.
- Employ technologies to enable online check-in/out, contactless payment, and automated booking and ordering systems in order to reduce person-to-person interactions.
- Install hand-hygiene and -sanitization stations throughout the property
- Apply heightened cleaning and increased sanitization practices in all guest rooms, public spaces and particularly in high-touch areas.
- Carry out routine Reporting and Monitoring processes based on daily non-invasive temperature and health checks being performed on both guests and employees, utilizing the Tourism & Health Information System (THIS).
- Provide frequent, clear, and consistent communication regarding the particulars and execution of new protocols, as well as foster an understanding of their impact and importance among both employees and guests.
- Develop and establish a clear, rapid response plan in order to manage any suspected COVID-19 cases.
- Implement comprehensive training programs to ensure that workers are well-versed in new policies, and prepared to appropriately apply new protocols and practices in the context of upon their individual roles.
Mick and Lucy Fleming, Chaa Creek’s founding owners, said the BTB measures go hand-in-hand with Chaa Creek’s existing and more recently enhanced health and safety protocols.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary responses – especially when they impact on our number one priority – the safety and security of our guests and staff,” Lucy said.
“In the forty years since we began taking in guests at our farm on the banks of the Macal River, we’ve weathered many things, but nothing as dramatic as this global pandemic. And while we’re anxious to reopen and have everyone back doing what they love, we’ll make sure that we move carefully and responsibly.
“The BTB’s Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program is one more tool we’re using to make sure that The Lodge at Chaa Creek, our Belize Rainforest Retreat, and Guava Limb Café continue to offer guests the safest, healthiest, and most enjoyable experiences possible,” she said.
Chaa Creek was built to harmonize with nature, with abundant greenery, tropical gardens, and ample space between accommodations and amenities.
The surrounding 400-acre private nature reserve and nearby Macal River supply plenty of fresh air, with the wide range of nature-based activities, and features such as farm-to-table dining all contributing to the “Healthy Belize” vacations Chaa Creek has become famous for.
Lucy said the BTB protocols are posted on the BTB website, and she encourages people to visit Chaa Creek’s website for up to date information.
“We know that people are as anxious as we are for international travel restrictions to be lifted, and we’ll reopen as soon as our guests can travel safely. And then we’ll continue working with our colleagues in Belize’s tourism industry to meet and exceed global best practices.
“For forty years Chaa Creek has been promoting sustainable tourism and responsible travel, and that’s now more important than ever.”