The tourism sector generated 8.2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016; In 2019 it attracted more than 3 million tourists, generating millions of dollars in foreign currency and 20.8% of the workforce, according to data from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).
Given the impact that tourism has experienced by the COVID-19 Pandemic, and in the current context, the need of establishing protocols to allow the reopening and prevent the risk of community contagion, as well as establish the necessary protection measures for workers in this sector is necessary.
Therefore, the Technical Standards Institute of Costa Rica (INTECO), as a result of a model case of public-private collaboration, has developed 22 technical specifications that constitute tools that help identify and analyze risks, as well as implement the best practices in service, facilities and with staff.
INTECO makes these documents freely available to society
“The INTE ES S85 series of specifications establish the guidelines and recommendations for reducing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus in the tourism sector, and are intended to contribute to the competitiveness and safety of companies, their products, services and processes, as well as the protection of people, consumers and the environment; to allow the achievement of business excellence and the well-being of society”, indicated Alexandra Rodríguez, INTECO’s Director of Standardization.
Specifications were reviewed by sector institutions
The technical specifications have a similar structure, except for the particular sections of each service or installation. They address aspects such as risk management, service requirements, cleaning and disinfection, and, maintenance; Furthermore, they are an important complement to the sector protocols already approved by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).
The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR), the Promoter of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica (PROCOMER), among others, participated in the revision of the specifications.
“Without a doubt, this series of technical specifications developed by INTECO strengthen and validate the effort made by the ICT with the support of the private sector, for the generation of more than 16 sanitary protocols applied to the most representative activities of the tourism sector. In the midst of an unprecedented situation, joint and inter-institutional work makes the fight against this invisible enemy that has profoundly affected the tourism sector more robust”, Alberto López, ICT General Manager.
The guidelines are aimed at sectors such as spas, hotels and other accommodation; travel agencies, campsites, and vocational centers, food services, tourist guides, museums and heritage sites, tourist information offices, adventure activities, and ecotourism, among others.