As tourism in Banyuwangi regency, East Java, slowly reopens to travelers in the “new normal” era, the regency administration continues to promote its health and safety competence certification program among local tourism-related businesses.
The certification program trains businesses in implementing health and hygiene safety standards. The administration previously encouraged local tour guides to join the initial phase of the certification program, and this time, local drivers are urged to take part in the program.
In total, Banyuwangi Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas has certified 400 tour guides and drivers who have successfully passed the health and hygiene competence assessment program.
“Congratulations to all our friends in tourism, particularly the tour guides and drivers who have completed this certification program to make sure they are running their hospitality services under strict COVID-19 pandemic-related health and hygiene protocols,” Anas said.
The regent has also awarded symbolic tokens of appreciation to the training participants, indicating that they have understood and implemented COVID-19 health and hygiene protocols properly. The tokens also include ID cards for the tour guides and vehicle drivers to wear while on duty, as well as certification badges.
The ID cards also contain barcodes. Tourists can simply scan these barcodes using their smartphones to ensure that the staff members serving them have understood the tourism health and hygiene protocols, as well as applied them in their operations.
Meanwhile, Banyuwangi Culture and Tourism Agency head M.Y. Bramuda said his agency would continue training local tourism players in health and hygiene protocols and reach as many workers as possible.
“The training program takes place several days in our agency’s office.”
. (Courtesy of Pemkab Banyuwangi/.)
He underlined that the assessment process was very meticulous and carried out under a very strict guideline. The training program itself is facilitated by experts from the local health agency, tourism practitioners and assessors, as well as tourism scholars.
“A health agency team member explains how hospitality staff members are supposed to interact with tourists amid COVID-19 to ensure safe, clean and healthy tourism practices. They also need to know how to best implement these principles,” Bramuda said.
Anas added that trust was the most important currency in tourism, in a sense that tourists wanted to visit a particular place only if they were confident that it offered not just comfort and excitement but also safety and security.
Speaking of safety within the context of the pandemic, it is also important for all stakeholders responsible for tourist destinations to reassure guests that they have implemented health and hygiene protocols across all their premises.
“This is why the regional administration has been continuously working to involve as many staff members serving various roles for different types of tourist outlets as it can in the training and certification program. The program is highly important as it guarantees each tourist who visits Banyuwangi that they will be safe while enjoying their vacation here,” Anas said.
At the same time, according to Anas, elements of Banyuwangi regency tourism are also striving to develop and realize the full potential of tourist attractions in the area.
“Please keep spreading all the positive news about Banyuwangi. The positive news has been our sole capital for the past nine months as we tried to recover local tourism. Indeed, these are hard times, but as long as we care and are willing to step forward to help revive local businesses, then God Willing, our tourism will soon bounce back,” he said.
“Who knows, maybe our tourism can advance and develop even further [after the pandemic is over].”