The Kingdom of Eswatini has published its official Tourism COVID-19 Heath & Safety Guidelines as part of a process to help re-launch the country’s tourism industry.
The guidelines, endorsed by WHO, have been put together in recent weeks by the Eswatini Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism & Environmental Affairs in partnership with the Hospitality & Tourism Association of Eswatini (the country’s industry body). They have been produced based on extensive engagement with the Eswatini Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation.
In order to be as thorough and robust as possible, the guidelines for Eswatini have been written based on WHO guidelines on COVID-19 and UNWTO guidelines for re-opening tourism, and with reference to neighbouring South Africa’s guidelines. The driving force behind the guidelines has been to allow the Tourism & Hospitality industry in Eswatini to meet all health and safety criteria currently necessary so as to make the Eswatini tourism experience as safe as possible.
The objectives of the Guidelines are specified as follows:
- Inculcate institutional Operational and Staff Preparedness to ensure service provision meets World Health Organization guidelines and Eswatini’s Ministry of Health measures aimed at preventing spread of covid-19.
- Ensure a safe experience for visitors/guests and service providers.
- Rebuild trust & confidence hence increase and sustain demand for holiday and investment in the destination.
- Implement enabling policies and guidelines thus provide a step by step process of a careful reopening and restart of business in the tourism sector.
Eswatini Minister of Tourism Hon Moses Valikati announces the launch of the Guidelines
During his keynote speech when launching the new guidelines, Eswatini Ministry of Tourism Hon. Moses Vilakati was keen to make it clear that obtaining WHO endorsement and meeting international standards would be a huge boost, stating: “The launch of the National Tourism guidelines is aimed at strengthening confidence in our clients both local and international that is it indeed safe to visit and explore Eswatini as all measures to prevent COVID-19 are in place. My heartfelt appreciation to the Ministry of Health, and WHO Eswatini for endorsing these guidelines and affirming that indeed the country is well aligned with global health and hygiene standards and protocols. This endorsement is vital because it is recognition that Eswatini is a safe destination under these guidelines.”
In addition, Ministry Vilakati confirmed that this was not simply a paper exercise but a practical one, encouraging establishments to go even further than the protocols and announcing that: “The health inspectors and the environmental health officers in the respective towns and municipalities in all the regions will assist the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, ETA and Industry to ensure adherence by all parties involved.”
Tourism plays a vital role in the economy of Eswatini and in supporting many local communities and conserving natural environments and wildlife. These guidelines are a commitment by both the government and the tourism industry to conduct business in a way that preserves life while advancing economic growth and maintaining the valuable work being done through tourism. Minister Vilakati was keen to stress the vital role played by the tourism industry in the country and in the formation of this document: “Eswatini’s tourism sector with the Eswatini Tourism Authority have developed tourism national COVID-19 guidelines to mitigate the effects of the disruptions caused by the Corona Virus in business and people’s livelihoods in the tourism sector. The Hospitality and Tourism Association of Eswatini (HOTAES) has taken the responsibility of ensuring that destination Eswatini is safe and ready for tourism business.”
Representatives from WHO and UN at the launch to endorse the Guidelines
Leading travel brand Lonely Planet’s named the Kingdom of Eswatini as one of its Top Destinations for 2020, describing it as “Petite, pleasant and packed with culture, adventure and legendary wildlife”. This is perhaps the most prestigious accolades in travel but the country has yet to see the full benefit of this amazing award due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Eswatini ticks many of the boxes now being sought by travellers and tourists post-lockdown and, as travel re-starts and Eswatini looks to re-open its borders, these new Guidelines will help allow the country to flourish once more as a primary destination of choice in Africa.
The Guidelines Document can be downloaded by clicking here
Transcripts of the Speeches at the Launch event (Minister of Tourism, UN & WHO Representatives) can be accessed by clicking here