Hotels across Antigua and Barbuda have worked diligently over the past several months to implement and manage the protocols that have been set by the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment.
The priority has been on ensuring that employees are working in a safe environment and that guests can enjoy a vacation within the guidelines of our new normal.
All accommodation providers had to ensure that employees completed the training provided by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health. Additionally, all properties had to be inspected for operation and had to go through a re-certification process to continue operations into 2021.
In the last quarter of 2020, the Ministry of Tourism announced the implementation of a Compliance team, whose responsibility it is to spot check accommodation providers, thereby ensuring that protocols remain a top priority.
Speaking on the issue of managing protocols for employees and guests, Alex de Brito, interim Chairman of the ABHTA remarked that “we are existing in a very challenging time and now more than ever safety must be our top priority. Hotels within our membership have gone above and beyond to implement guidelines related to all areas of the hotel operation. Properties are deep cleaned and sanitized overnight, and some properties have implemented a new role called service ambassadors, whose sole responsibility is ensuring that protocols are followed throughout the daily operation. We will be facing the fight against Covid-19 for some time and would like to encourage all accommodation providers to maintain and even enhance on the work that we’ve done for the past months, as we have a huge responsibility to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda remain a destination of choice in the global marketplace. Further, we welcome the continued support of the Ministry of Health and the relevant Government authorities in ensuring that health and safety standards are met across the island”.
Recently, hotels that applied to the Ministry of Health through the ABHTA were given the authorization to perform on-resort Antigen site testing of guests who now require a negative test to return to the United States and the United Kingdom.
This is a huge responsibility and investment for the hotels and represents the level of importance that the hotels have in assisting the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in the fight against Covid-19.
Mr. de brito advised that “we are grateful for the support of the Ministry of Health on allowing us to provide this service to our guests. Based on reports from a sample of eight hotels, as per Feb 17, 2021, over 3,000 guests were tested and 99.8% have tested negative and have been free to return to their home destination. This is a great indicator that our entry protocols are effective, and we will continue to expand on this service as many properties have also begun testing employees as an additional measure of security.”
In the global marketplace Antigua and Barbuda has a huge challenge as we fight to get visibility for our destination. Our success lies in ensuring that potential guests feel that our islands are safe and that locally we continue to manage the spread of Covid-19. All accommodation providers are encouraged to continue the management of the protocols on each of their respective properties.