The Egyptian Hotel Association has contracted food hygiene expert Check Safety First to implement higher standards in hotels and reduce food related illnesses amongst tourists.
As part of the government-backed programme, Check Safety First will implement comprehensive food hygiene practices as well as provide basic food handling training for staff in 150 hotels to help monitor, identify and control safety hazards.
Steve Tate, CEO of Check Safety First, believes that the new scheme will help to attract more tourists to the region.
“The hepatitis A outbreak in Hurghada last year, in which almost 200 tourists became ill, demonstrated the potential impact poor hygiene standards can have on the local tourism industry. Egypt’s tourism sector is currently undergoing a revival and the government is taking huge steps in urging hotels to adopt high standards of hygiene to minimise the risk of holidaymakers becoming ill and encourage concerned tourists back to the region.”
The new scheme will increase the total number of Egyptian sites audited by Check Safety First to over 300. The company’s Cristal programme has already significantly improved hygiene levels aboard many of the country’s Nile cruise boats after it was appointed in the late 1990s following high levels of passenger illness. Consequently incidences of food related illnesses on board have dropped to almost zero per cent and tourist numbers have increased.
“Our track record on the Nile cruise boats has already demonstrated the positive impact that practising good hygiene standards can have on occupancy levels in the country,” comments Tate. “Egypt used to be a destination where visitors expected to contract some form of food related illness, but this needn’t be the case. Egyptian hotels now account for a third of those we work with, reflecting the ongoing commitment from the country’s government, tour operators and hoteliers to improve standards across Egypt, ensuring that it remains a popular tourist destination in the future.”