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Tourism Ministry launches SAATHI, QCI certification for hospitality industry

New Delhi: On the occasion of 'World Tourism Day', the tourism ministry on Sunday launched SAATHI application, aiming the safety and hygiene in the hospitality industry.

Amid the outbreak of Coronavirus world-wide, it is an initiative with the participation of The Quality Council of India, to boost the confidence among staff, employees and guests about the safety of the hotels and units.

"The idea is not only to sensitise the industry on the COVID regulations by the government but also to instill confidence amongst the staff and guests that the hospitality unit has exhibited intent towards ensuring safety and hygiene at the workplace," a ministry communiqué mentioned.

The application further has been developed, based on the COVID-19 guidelines, as issued by both the tourism and health ministries, involving the respective states. The hygiene and safety encompassing the management commitment, hygiene and sanitisation measures, safety advisories in hotel operations, essential communication, training of staffs and awareness, preventive measures, safe transport management, vendor management, ventilation, waste management and the control of discriminatory practices.

The first criteria in this application provide a detailed understanding of the guidelines or the key elements to be followed by hotels or units. Then a self-certification is issued. Next, webinars to clarify doubts through live interactions of the self-certified hotels or units.

Last, site assessment to check the on-ground implementation of the SOPs or guidelines and to identify gaps.

The SAATHI application was launched by the petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan during a virtual event. The minister further launched a film 'Pathik', an initiative on Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification Programme (IITFC) and an ICPB MICE Promotional film.

While speaking on this occasion, Pradhan also recommended a proposal under which identified tourist sites or iconic spots will be turned into green zones where vehicles using only eco-friendly fuel will be allowed to ply. He said the proposed project will be the joint effort of the ministry of tourism and the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.

This year, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has designated 2020 as the Year of Tourism and Rural Development. This Year is an opportunity to promote the potential of tourism to create jobs and opportunities. It can also advance inclusion and highlight the unique role tourism can play in preserving and promoting natural and cultural heritage and curbing urban migration.

Addressing the event, tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel also reiterated that the ministry launched the Dekho Apna Desh (DAD) initiative in January 2020 to create awareness among citizens about the rich heritage and culture of the country, encouraging them to travel widely within the country and enhancing tourist footfalls leading to the development of the local economy and creation of jobs at the local level.

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