For a while, the slogan #SouthAfricaisTravelReady was trending to motivate the South African government to ease international travel restrictions. Six months later the South African President announced that on the 1st of October South Africa’s borders would be open for international travel and we couldn’t be happier!

Followed by the news of the borders being open, we received the ‘Safe Travels Stamp’ issued by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The stamp is the first of its kind, and it indicates that we have followed all health and safety procedures to ensure that we deliver a safe experience for our guests and staff.

While each industry within the Travel & Tourism sector must develop clear and practical protocols to enable the sector’s recovery, such an approach is even more critical for tour operators given their dependence on other tourism entities such as destinations, airlines, hotels, transportation and travel insurance companies.

The below-suggested protocols for tour operators were compiled based on input from leading tour operators either directly or from their public announcements around the healthy, and responsible reopening of tour operations to the public. The protocols also take into account the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines.

The 4 protocols provide consistency for destinations and guidance to travellers about the new approach to health, hygiene & physical distancing in the post-COVID-19 world.

1. Operational and Staff Preparedness: We’ve optimised operational quality and delivery, and have trained staff to prepare and execute these.

2. Delivering a Safe Experience: We vow to deliver a safe experience for our staff and guests through enhanced cleanliness and hygiene best practices.

3. Rebuilding Trust: We create trust through transparency.

4. Implementing Enabling Policies: We support enabling policies that are implemented at the governmental level.

As a member of the WTCC, Giltedge can use the stamp worldwide to promote our beautiful continent. This symbol will also give travelers the necessary reassurance to make Africa a preferred travel destination. The ‘Safe Travels’ stamp sends the message that Giltedge endorses the global health and safety protocols and that we have followed all the recommendations issued by the national health ministry and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.