To build Hong Kong’s image as a safe travel destination during the pandemic, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has rolled out a set of ‘standardised hygiene protocols’ for businesses in the sector.

For this, HKTB has partnered with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) and has drafted a list of hygiene and anti-epidemic measures for those who are into restaurants, shopping malls, retail, hotels, and tourist attractions related businesses. In addition, some measures have been put in place for the inbound tour operators as well.

The protocol includes having restaurants to ensure good indoor ventilation of up to six air changes per hour; encouraging patrons to use contactless payments or staff handling cash must wash their hands, change their gloves, and hotels to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as lift buttons at least every two hours.

The tourism board has said that participating businesses and outlets are required to comply with a series of hygiene measures. After passing the assessment, details of the businesses and outlets will be uploaded on the HKQAA website.

The businesses and outlets can then display a designated logo for recognition to show their commitment to the protocol.

Dr YK Pang, chairman of the HKTB, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a new normal to the tourism landscape, and public health and safety have become a priority for visitors. Many international travel and tourism organisations have already put in place hygiene and anti-epidemic guidelines, and standardising hygiene measures for each sector can spread to visitors the message that different sectors across Hong Kong value their commitment to hygiene and safety.

“I am excited that more than 1,800 businesses and outlets expressed interest in the protocol when the HKTB consulted our trade partners. The HKTB will strengthen its promotion of anti-epidemic measures taken by the tourism industry and related sectors to establish a healthy and safe tourism image for Hong Kong and to bolster visitors’ confidence in travelling to Hong Kong.”

Commenting on the initiative, Ir C S Ho, chairman of the HKQAA said:

“During the development of the standardised protocol, the HKQAA referred to the guidelines by the Centre for Health Protection and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. We aim to promote best practices for hygiene and anti-epidemic measures across tourism-related sectors and acknowledge their efforts in combating the pandemic through professional and impartial third-party verification, thus restoring public confidence in out-of-home consumption and travel.

“It is our honour to partner with the Hong Kong Tourism Board to leverage our strengths in continuously improving the overall standards across the entire industry, establishing a new, standardised hygiene culture under the new normal.”