– Danie Keet. Above: Stellenbosch’s Dorp Street.

Hot on the heels of the major Safe Travels Stamp received by Visit Stellenbosch, the organisation is now implementing the Stellenbosch Ready programme, a self-regulatory programme based on the approved protocols for Stellenbosch.

“These protocols are aligned with the TBCSA recommended protocols and subsequently validated by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). We expect members to adhere to, and implement, the approved protocols. TBCSA will perform spot-checks from time-to-time to verify compliancy. Stellenbosch Ready will also encourage visitors and guests to engage with us regarding feedback, concerns and compliments,” says Jeanneret Momberg, chief executive officer of Visit Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch recently became the first destination in South Africa to be awarded the prestigious Safe Travels Stamp by the WTTC. The WTTC has recognised Stellenbosch for the quick and rigorous adoption of recommended hygiene and sanitary measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Momberg customer and guest confidence in times of Covid-19 and beyond will be the driver of demand for Stellenbosch as a destination and tourism businesses.

Jeanneret Momberg.

Jeanneret Momberg.

“As we look forward to find our ‘new normal’ and prepare for the return of visitors and guests, we know travellers will be looking for destinations that are safe and responsible, destinations that put their guests’ wellbeing first and destinations that guarantee that, in this fluid environment, their booking is safe.”

“Visit Stellenbosch, and Stellenbosch Ready, delivers on three of these critical guest needs, health and safety protocols all aligned with TBCSA and validated by WTTC, training on health and safety protocols, and flexible booking and cancellation terms.”

“We are overwhelmed by the support from our members demonstrating a unified consumer-friendly front as a collective, and reassuring customers and guests that they are the centre of our efforts to maintain a safe, welcoming and responsible environment for their next visit,” she emphasised.

As part of the Stellenbosch Ready programme, Visit Stellenbosch wants their guests to know that “we’re ready when they are” and remove the fear around new bookings. It is a Stellenbosch Ready requirement for their partners to endeavour to institute flexible booking terms.

“We have been working closely with Bergzicht Training to develop sector appropriate training courses. Visit Stellenbosch will facilitate training and coordinate training sessions where applicable.”

“Bergzicht Training has designed sector-specific training courses and are offering these at a subsidised fee. Training can be done at the guest house or via Zoom. Stellenbosch Ready will coordinate sector-specific group training sessions for partners who want to join with only a few staff members. A Covid-19 Compliance Officer must be appointed and undergo compulsory training, offered by Stellenbosch Ready via an e-learning platform.”

“We look forward, together with our members and partners, to advance in a unified way, and celebrate our commitment to the safe reopening of Stellenbosch tourism,” Momberg said.

Referring to the major Safe Travels Stamp, Momberg said that Visit Stellenbosch has been working to align Visit Stellenbosch’s tourism business protocols with global standards, and welcome the opportunity to join this global campaign.

“A global approach that put their guests’ wellbeing first is essential to recovery in times of Covid-19. The Safe Travels stamp will be a great way to provide that signal of trust to our future guests,” says Momberg.

WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, designed the special Safe Travels stamp to enable travellers to identify destinations and businesses around the world which adopted its health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers and holidaymakers can experience “Safe Travels”. Other popular holiday destinations that comply with Safe Travels standards include Turkey, Portugal and Mauritius.

Stellenbosch has launched many initiatives implementing and addressing elevated standards of health and safety in the popular tourist destination, ensuring that they are ready to safely welcome local and international visitors.

“The WTTC stamp, together with our Stellenbosch Ready programme, goes one step further in reassuring everyone that Stellenbosch is ready. Our destination is focused on recovery and trust is at the core of our business,” concludes Momberg.