Members of the Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers (Atas) are working together to provide reassurance to travellers with enhanced safety procedures.
The 22 tour operator members have been collaborating to understand and discuss increased safety regulations.
The measures are designed to allow travellers to ‘reconnect in a safe way’ with new policies functioning in line with government advice and industry organisations such as the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The role of tour leaders to provide security and how best to support local communities is included as part of the increased health and safety procedures,
Atas will also focus on increased training for agents around the new policies to be able to educate and provide reassurance to travellers.
Members have pledged to only use hotels, restaurants and attractions that follow strict health and safety procedures.
Reduced ‘touch points’, such as luggage handling and manual check-in will be reduced, with the introduction of solutions such as paperless systems and priority entry into attractions.
All members are also committed to work with suppliers to ensure heightened cleaning procedures are implemented on all vehicles.
Tour managers will receive increased training in line with new hygiene requirements to ensure high standards are maintained.
Duty offices will be available 24/7 and local management companies will be on hand to assist should travellers feel unwell.
Atas chair Brian Young (G Adventures) said: “When it comes to booking travel, safety is one of the leading considerations for travellers at the moment, who are rightfully nervous due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The touring sector has been celebrated in the past for the safety benefits it offers and our members are committed to ensuring the continued safety of both travellers and staff when we can travel again.
“These new member policies are designed to help provide reassurance for agents and travellers while highlighting the continued benefits of travelling with an operator.”
Atas believes that touring remains one of the most impactful styles of travel for travellers looking to leave money locally, support community tourism and have a lasting positive effect on the people they meet along the way.
But there is still work to be done to overcome misconceptions around ages and traveller demographics within the sector.
Young added: “When people think of the touring sector, there is often a big misconception that we are dealing solely with an older traveller demographic.
“For Atas members, this couldn’t be further from the truth and it’s the role associations like Atas, to challenge these misconceptions.”