Andrew Foxon, owner of Go-Mann Adventures, explains how signing up to the 'Safe, Clean, Legal COVID-19' accreditation has enabled his business to make inroads in getting ready ahead of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the Island's borders reopening. 

“How should you get your tourism business ready for operating when COVID-19 restrictions allow?

Or for when the Island’s borders open again?

I can highly recommend the Quality in Tourism (QiT) Safe, Clean, Legal COVID-19 Accreditation. I found it helpful, practical, personal and, above all, flexible enough to respond to the needs of my business.

Go-Mann Adventures offers guided walks, tours and outdoor skills courses on the Isle of Man. In a ‘normal’ year I have many off-Island visitors to the Isle of Man exploring the glorious Manx countryside with me, as well as Island residents, but, of course, 2020 was not a ‘normal’ year. When the Island’s COVID-19 gathering restrictions ended in May, I was able to offer a wide range of walks, tours and courses to Island residents hungry to explore more. Before re-opening I had carefully looked at Isle of Man Government requirements and benefited from practical help from both Mountain Training England and the British Guild of Tourist Guides to develop appropriate procedures and practices which have served my clients well.

As we headed towards the end of 2020, and there was the prospect that at some point in 2021 the Island’s borders would re-open to off-Island visitors, I realised that I needed to develop my procedures further. Those visiting from ‘across’ and from other parts of the world would have lived with restrictions and signage for a longer period than we had. How could I reassure potential clients that I was aware of the issues and would take the right precautions? And how could I reassure Island residents who joined a walk that all appropriate care was being taken?

With perfect timing, along came Quality in Tourism (QiT) Safe, Clean, Legal COVID-19 Accreditation. The Visit Isle of Man Agency introduced me to QiT. When I looked at their documentation, a lot was targeted towards accommodation and physical premises, much of which is not relevant to me as my ‘office’ is the Manx countryside! An initial phone call with QiT was set up and after a few weeks of sharing information, ideas and approaches I now have a set of updated procedures which help me be ready for the point that the Island’s current lockdown ends and for when the borders open.

The professional and personal approach that QiT took meant that it was not simply a tick box exercise, but provided genuine guidance and assistance to help me assess risk mitigation and how I could best keep my clients and myself safe as well. I’m pleased to say that I am now accredited by QiT. For me, this isn’t simply a marque or a badge, but has given me real, practical help and I thoroughly recommend engaging with Quality in Tourism (QiT) Safe, Clean, Legal COVID-19 Accreditation.

Andrew Foxon

Go-Mann Adventures

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