Game Changer of Tourism Sector and Tourist Behavior in Two Southeast Asia’s Gems: Thailand’s SHA and Indonesia CHSE

In this second edition of IISMA Insights, Rheaya takes you on a little journey to Thailand — of course with the help of their newest safety feature!

         We know that the pandemic is quite unsettling. And yet, most of us probably cannot resist the urge to travel and seek entertainment across places during such tantalizing times. Due to this, many tourism authorities of several countries generated a new protocol system that was built to guarantee the hygiene and safety of their visitors. With this new system, not only can visitors feel safe during their vacation, but the local tourism entrepreneurs can ‘re-spawn’ their business and it would be economically beneficial for the locals. It is a win-win solution for everyone, right?

The Tourism Authority of Thailand granted an Amazing Thailand SHA certificate to The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok. TAT Newsroom

         The Kingdom of Thailand is one of the states that created the aforementioned system. The  Tourism Authority of Thailand, collaborating with the Ministry of Public Health, tourism operators, and other Thailand authorities, developed a new system to prevent COVID-19 spread during tourism activities. The system is named Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA), and it establishes the latest health standards and protocols for accommodations, tourist attractions, transportation, restaurants, and other recreational places or activities. SHA provides a certificate to honor tourism entrepreneurs who succeeded in following the health protocols and standards. Through this, SHA-certified businesses will gain the trust of visitors, the government, and the public.

         Should we compare Thailand with our homeland, Indonesia also has a certification system similar to SHA called CHSE — short for Clean, Health, Safety & Environment. This system also operates as a provider for tourism entrepreneurs to be certified as a clean, healthy, safe, and sustainable place to visit. CHSE itself is overseen by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy with original mandates from the Ministry of Health. In theory, the CHSE-certified establishments are to implement decisions and rulings accordingly to the state’s health and safety criteria during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through CHSE, prospective tourists can pick various accommodations, transportation, or entertainment sites that are trusted and automatically operating within official standards without hassle. 

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia awarded a CHSE certificate to Novotel Suite Malioboro. Kemenparekraf/Baparekraf RI

        Based on personal experience and observation during my exchange program in Thailand, I have discovered that SHA and CHSE are similarly preserving the tourism sector in Thailand and Indonesia. Both are projects managed by each respective tourism authority, all whilst still being monitored by the health authority. Both are accessible for tourists and entrepreneurs — their websites provide complete information about the certification and protocols. In technical terms, if we have a business, we can directly apply for certification through the country’s relevant websites. However, SHA is directly associated with the quarantine system in Thailand. To enter Thailand during the pandemic, we must book a hotel that meets the SHA standards for quarantine before arrival in Thailand. While in Indonesia, there is no specific connection between CHSE and the quarantine system, even though quarantine hotels are most likely CHSE-certified hotels. Besides, hotels and shopping malls are more active in promoting CHSE protocols. While in Thailand, people tend to be aware of SHA mainly because of quarantine regulations, and SHA certification seems more effective for accommodation compared to other businesses like F&B and tourist attractions. Not many people would hear someone say “I only want to meet you at an SHA-certified café.

Disinfection procedure in Bangkok. Norbert Braun/Unsplash

        Regardless, these projects have been proven to affect the behavior of tourists. It is moderately changing the attitude of prospective tourists to be more careful in choosing accommodation and pay more attention to health risks. Nowadays, tourists tend to prioritize hygiene and security despite the purpose or motivation of their visits. The increase in self-care and cleanliness awareness is already a part of everyone’s routine, and as a result, both countries can generate wiser tourists. Moreover, entrepreneurs can improve their risk management and adapt their businesses to be more sustainable and more resilient. Hence, more opportunities for many industries to continue their business and for tourists to travel in this new normal era. 

        Still don’t believe me? Just admit that you have probably unconsciously (or consciously) added one new article to your travel packing checklist: Covid kit. This showcases how people are more vigilant towards their wellbeing during vacations that are now more dangerous than ever. In short, the creation of SHA and CHSE may have changed the fact of tourism and entrepreneurship from its deepest roots — a claim that each state must be proud of.

Created by : Rheaya Rivi Hatifa

Rheaya majored in Travel Industry Studies and went to Thailand for a while to study Business Administration. Rheaya is the type of person who is curious about the many places of the world, especially the ones with sweets around their corner!

References

Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia. (2020). Topik umum. Retrieved from https://chse.kemenparekraf.go.id/bantuan#topikumum

Tourism Authority of Thailand. About amazing Thailand safety and health administration (SHA). Retrieved from https://web.thailandsha.com/about/details.

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