The Import Promotion Desk (IPD) is supporting the Ministry of Tourism in Ecuador (MINTUR) as it prepares to relaunch tourism in the country. In conjunction with the consulting firm Hotel Resilient, which specialises in risk and crisis management, the health and hygiene concepts for the tourism sector have been adapted to internationally valid standards and a concept for hygiene and safety training has been developed. David A. Ortegón Martínez, CEO of KAI Sustainable Coaching (KSC) took an active part of this project participating in the alignment of the Ecuadorian Protocols and Guidelines for safe Re-opening of Accommodations and F&B establishements with Internationally Recognised Standards and as Training Instructor. In the first three months, more than 400 Ecuadorian tourism professionals have already been trained; an e-learning program has also been launched.
BUILDING TRUST WITH HEALTH AND HYGIENE CONCEPTS
No other industry has been hit as hard by the Covid-19 pandemic as the tourism industry: travel warnings, cancelled flights and closed borders have become the new reality. IPD was unable to complete its plans to present the destinations and travel suppliers of the IPD program at trade shows, nor to organise roadshows or FAM trips to connect European tour operators with companies in Ecuador, Nepal and Tunisia.
Therefore, IPD and its partners looked ahead instead - to the time after the crisis: In a number of capacity-building measures, the IPD experts supported tour operators in their positioning and marketing in order to ensure a successful new start after the crisis. IPD tackled one particular challenge together with MINTUR in Ecuador: it is essential for the restart that guests have confidence in the guarantee of their safety – and with regard to Covid-19, in the health and hygiene concepts of the tourism providers. The project therefore involved the professional establishment of internationally recognised Covid-19 hygiene protocols in the hospitality and food & beverage sector and their successful implementation across the industry. A fundamental element in the success of the project was broad implementation of the processes throughout the diverse tourism industry in Ecuador. At the same time, the training concept had to consider the special pandemic conditions in order to avoid spreading the virus.
INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED HYGIENE PROTOCOLS AND "TRAINING OF TRAINERS“ CONCEPT
By involving the consulting firm Hotel Resilient, IPD has acquired an expert in risk management within the hotel industry. In close cooperation with MINTUR, the specialists revised existing Ecuadorian protocols and guidelines for the safe reopening of the hotel and hospitality industry. The goal was to maximise the effectiveness of Ecuadorian protocols and build trust by aligning them with internationally recognised standards.
In order to ensure broad communication of the new concept, a „training of trainers“ approach was developed. This allowed locally trained trainers to inform many tourism businesses and their employees about the newly developed hygiene measures and safety protocols as efficiently as possible and support them in the implementation process. The training was offered in both English and Spanish and was accessible as an online tool in even the more remote regions of Ecuador.
HIGH DEMAND FOR TRAINING
Employees of the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Board as well as the hotel association AHOTEC rolled out the information and training campaign on the new hygiene protocols for the tourism sector. In addition to employees of the ministry and the hotel association, a large number of regional tourism authorities and tourism service providers were reached. In the first three months, around 400 tourism professionals were trained.
The targeted development of training competencies at MINTUR and AHOTEC ensured that in the long term the training courses could be offered locally and, if necessary, quickly adapted to new challenges. The e-learning tool also provides access to the training even for tourism companies in remote regions, such as the Amazon and Galapagos.