Safety and tourism have always gone hand-in-hand. After all, we have grown accustomed to saying: “Have a safe journey,” or “safe travels.” Travel is, of course, incredibly exciting, and one of those exciting components means stepping out of your comfort zone, trying something new, and taking some risks.
This is why having a safety net is crucial, and even more so in 2021 as we all head into our own versions of a “new normal.” In other words, guaranteed safety while traveling has become more critical than it’s ever been. And this might mean embarking on more private travel experiences, avoiding group tours, and booking with a company like Kuoda that has your best interest at heart always.
In this article, we break down what this stamp actually means. We also explain why it’s so essential in the new normal of travel so that you can feel incredibly confident in booking a custom-designed trip to South America with us and not have to worry about a thing!
What is a “safe travels” stamp or certification?
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has stepped up to the plate during this pandemic to create the world’s very first “Safe Travels” stamp. They launched this stamp, which is a type of certification according to global COVID-19 safety protocols, so we can all navigate this uncertain climate with more ease and still create wonderful memories while traveling.
The safety protocols built into this stamp form part of a living document. Because, as we all know, new information about COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-02 virus is constantly coming to light as experts learn more about the science behind this new disease and the virus that causes it. This living document is updated regularly according to WHO and CDC guidelines.
Something worth noting is that this stamp does not reflect the current infection rate of COVID-19 in any particular destination. Therefore, just like the vaccines against COVID-19, having the “Safe Travels” certification does not guarantee 100% safety against the disease. However, it is a crucial added layer of protection for all travelers to be on the same page and respect host destinations, local culture and communities.
Who the gets “safe travels” certification?
Essentially two umbrella categories designate who can receive this “safe travels” certification: destinations and businesses. Businesses can include travel companies, hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, attractions (like archaeological sites – e.g., Machu Picchu), car rentals, transportation, airports, and outdoor shopping centers.
Once a destination or business decides to apply for the “Safe Travels” stamp, they don’t necessarily need to become members of WTTC. Instead, they can contact their corresponding industry association or public authority, who will then coordinate with WTTC to obtain the stamp. In this way, the public and private sectors are constantly working together to ensure safe travels for as many people as possible.
Why is Kuoda a “safe travels” tour operator?
Even pre-pandemic, we always prioritized our guests’ safety. The vehicles we use are all incredibly safe brands, which could pass an inspection with flying colors any given day. The restaurants we work with are only the best options in each destination. Everyone covets an authentic experience with cuisine, especially in a destination like Peru, but food safety is also paramount.
We include only the very best accommodation from 3* boutique to 5* luxury properties, and our incredible team of knowledgeable travel experts and guides know how to anticipate your needs. In keeping with these tried-and-true standards, we’ve now added the “Safe Travels” stamp to our certificates! Our guides, drivers, and all of the hotels/restaurants we work with adhere to the latest health and hygiene protocols.
Our certificates also include a TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award from 2020 (the sixth year in a row) and a nomination from the World Travel Awards as Peru’s Leading Tour Operator for 2021. Lastly, we have a carbon-neutral certificate through the Green Initiative because sustainability is another one of our company’s pillars, which factors into each and every curated journey we create.
What are the safe travel destinations in South America?
Currently, there are 80 destinations across the Americas, Europe, Africa, The Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Islands that have received their WTTC “Safe Travels” stamp. Within South America, these destinations include Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador! We craft personalized travel experiences to all of these countries, and for the new normal of travel, we recommend the following in each country/region.
Now is the time for exploring Patagonia, especially if you’re an eco-conscious traveler! The natural wonderland of Patagonia spans Argentina and Chile, and you can partake in unique outdoor activities on both sides. For some spectacular trekking, head to Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, and for the world’s best whale-watching, consider adding a visit to the Peninsula Valdes in Argentina.
The coveted 4-5-day Inca Trail trek in Peru opened again on July 15th and is one of the most authentic trekking experiences you can have in the Andes. This original Inca Trail belongs to the original road system called the Qhapaq Ñan during the Inca Empire. The Qhapac Ñan spans over 40,000 km. The multi-day Inca Trail trek is the 43-mile stretch of this road network leading to Machu Picchu and is impeccably preserved.
Colombia is another South American destination known for its natural majesty and biodiversity. For those who love beautiful beaches, national parks, and the ocean Tayrona National Park is heaven on earth. Tayrona National Park lies between Colombia’s Caribbean coast and the base of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountain Range.
And sandwiched between Peru and Colombia, Ecuador is another country that should make it onto your bucket list if it hasn’t already. Ecuador was one of the first South American countries to welcome back international visitors during the pandemic, and the Galapagos Islands, in particular, have remained incredibly safe and protected.
We recommend booking your luxury trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands as soon as you can help re-stimulate the archipelago’s economy. The cruises are up and running again, and the Ecuadorian government has completed its COVID-19 vaccination rollout for residents. You won’t be required to have the vaccine to visit; however, we do recommend it, seeing as their population is quite isolated and vulnerable.
Safe experiences create the best memories
Some of us know all too well that something like food poisoning, an accident of any kind, fever and chills, or any other type of illness can instantly overshadow all of the positive experiences during your trip. But, on the other hand, we recognize that meaningful travel experiences are all about taking the good with the bad; the trick is to make sure the bad doesn’t surpass the good.
This is the ultimate goal of the WTTC “Safe Travels” stamp, to join forces in the tourist industry across the globe and confront this pandemic head-on. Every destination and business that has collaborated on this idea, of course, is looking to reactivate tourism, and at the same time, make sure your travel experiences are protected as much as possible.
International travel most certainly will bounce back because travel is something uniquely human. We love to learn about other corners of the world first hand, to take in the unique differences and the resounding similarities among us. Thanks to the WTTC “Safe Travels” stamp, and other collective local efforts, we can make sure we keep taking care of one another and keep traveling!
Contact us today to learn more about how to craft your perfect vacation to South America in the new normal; our travel designers are excited to hear from you!