WHY IT RATES: There are about 5,700 companies that are expected to have this certification by the end of 2020. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) supports Colombia in its work to implement biosafety protocols in the tourism industry and regain travelers’ trust. The international organization has awarded the Safe Travels stamp to stakeholders in Colombia’s tourism industry that obtain the voluntary Certified Check-In, COVID-19 Biosafe certification created by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism and endorsed by the World Tourism Organization.

“Being endorsed by an international organization as important as the World Travel & Tourism Council shows that our strategy to implement biosafety protocols in the tourism industry matches international demands. Colombia’s status as a Safe Travels destination will undoubtedly rebuild trust among national and foreign travelers who would like to visit our country,” stated José Manuel Restrepo, Minister of Trade, Industry, and Tourism.

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ProColombia President Flavia Santoro explained, “We are pleased that the WTTC has endorsed this initiative that we have developed as part of the strategy to reactivate tourism under strict biosafety protocols and within the framework of the Compromiso por Colombia (Commitment to Colombia) strategy, which aims to rebuild the industry based on the principles of sustainability and trust. Furthermore, having the internationally recognized Safe Travels stamp shows the world that we are committed to rebuilding the sector in a well-coordinated and regulated fashion.”

WTTC designed this stamp to support the responsible and safe reopening of the tourism sector worldwide, once each country’s authorities determine that conditions are suitable. In a statement about the importance of this certificate, WTTC President Gloria Guevara affirmed, “The stamp is critical to re-establish consumer confidence in our sector and ensure travellers can rest assured that enhanced standards of hygiene are in place and they can once again experience ‘Safe Travels’.”

In addition, the organization explains that Colombia is part of a rapidly growing global network of leading destinations committed to rebuilding trust among travelers so that safe travel can be enjoyed as restrictions are eased.

This support was recorded in the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism’s Resolution 0904, which explains that “as a Safe Travels destination, Colombia may issue the Safe Travels stamp to anyone who complies with the biosafety protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. Thus, those who have the right to use the Certified CheckIn quality seal may also use this stamp as a complementary international seal, which will provide the industry with added value that could facilitate its economic reactivation.”

Which companies have acquired the Certified Check-In seal?

To date, airports in the cities of Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Medellín and Santa Marta have obtained the Certified Check-In, COVID-19 Biosafe seal created in May by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism, which not only has support from ProColombia and Icontec, but which is also endorsed by the World Tourism Organization.

In addition, the airlines Viva Air, Avianca, Wingo and Latam and more than 37 hotels— including Tequendama Suites and Hotel as well as the GHL, Movich, Decameron, Hilton and Estelar hotel chains—have obtained the seal. Approximately 5,700 companies are expected to be certified by the end of 2020, with the number rising to 17,500 companies by 2022.

This seal is aimed at tourism service providers or other businesses, tourist areas and attractions that comply with the general and specific biosafety protocols issued by the national government or entities that are duly authorized to carry out standardization activities. The stamp is for organizations that wish to be certified and bear this quality seal.

Furthermore, there are 16 accredited certification bodies that may award the seal; currently, there are 1,312 certification requests.

SOURCE: ProColombia press release.