SON, Stakeholders Mull Guidelines to Reopen Tourism Sector

Mr. Anthony Aboloma

By James Emejo

The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Anthony Aboloma, Monday said it is currently working with stakeholders in the tourism sector to produce a draft safety guidelines for the reopening of the hospitality industry amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

He spoke during the maiden meeting of the Working Group of the Mirror Committee on Tourism and Related Services, which met via a web conference to review the “Health and Safety Measures for Tourism and Hospitality Establishments – Post Pandemic Resumption Standards”.

He said though the sector had been adversely affected by the pandemic both within and outside the country, the stakeholders’ collaboration is expected to oversee a comeback in the hospitality industry through deliberations on the draft safety standards and its eventual implementation.

Represented by SON Director, Standards Development, Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, Aboloma said the agency was ready to work with stakeholders to ensure that tourism is revamped by facilitating its comeback when the current lockdown is finally relaxed by the government.

However, the technical secretary of the committee, Mrs. Chidinma Ewuzie, in her presentation, said the proposed guidelines is aimed towards improving the safety of the employers and workers and prevention of a re-occurrence of the pandemic, boost confidence of guests and employers and employees and well as establish a monitoring control to limit the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement by the Head, Public Relations, SON, Bola Fashina, the organisation added that the framework will further enable the sector to comply with the guidelines for resumption and protection of lives and sustain the business.

According to her, the document applies to the tourism sector establishments including hotels, restaurants, fast foods, conferences/meetings/event centres, tour operatives/travel agents/tourist information centres, airlines and beaches among others.

The Chairperson of the committee/Director General, National Institute for Hotels and Tourism, Mrs. Chika Balogun, said at such a period of difficulty, stakeholders in the sector needed to put all hands on deck to see that they pull out of the challenges posed by the pandemic.

She said given that the country is not isolated from the global impact of the virus, SON through, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), has had to deploy standards for organisations to keep the economy afloat.