The Thai Hotels Association (THA) has urged SME operators to enrol with the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) in a project to set a new standard in health and hygiene. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is also preparing incentives for those that join said project.
The new investments into hygiene facilities will increase operating costs, but THA president Supawan Tanomkieatipume states that hotel operators must prioritise the new practices in order to maintain their business operations in the long run.
Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic causing havoc with the global economy, hotels and other businesses within the hospitality sector will need to lower operating costs to buy more equipment to meet the new standard. Ms Supawan has acknowledged this challenge.
If the TAT offered incentives for certified hotels such as providing financial assistance for hygiene investment or providing a discounted price from suppliers, it would encourage more operators to enrol in the programme.
Currently TAT is opening the registration system to 10 hospitality business types. These include restaurants, hotels or accommodation, recreational activity, tourist attractions, transport, and more.
Ms Supawan said that after the TAT gathers applications, each tourism association will responsible for audit procedures. The operators that complete the SHA checklists will receive a certificate awarded by the TAT.
The THA will audit hotel businesses in Thailand to determine which ones will be re-evaluated bi-annually to maintain certification. Hotel guests are also given the opportunity to evaluate certain hotels.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the guidelines will urge operators to legally register their businesses and work with associations, as soon the agency will introduce an incentive scheme for certified hotels that operate legally.
Mr Yuthasak is confident that the COVID-19 outbreak can be turned into an opportunity to create a new tourism platform that puts a focus on safety and hygiene for tourists; as moving forward, tourists are more likely to search for accommodations that provide trustworthy standards.
This move will also likely see a reduction in illegal rooms as tourists begin seeking higher standards in accommodations.
“The TAT plans to provide support via incentives for the additional costs from new hygiene equipment to legal operators that receive the SHA standard, especially SME hoteliers who need support to adjust to the new normal,” Mr Yuthasak said.