31 Jan Pilot Test of Tourism Certification for Hotels
About 40 hotels, 20 of them located in the province of Coclé and the
other 20 in the highlands including Boquete, Volcán and Cerro Punta within the province of Chiriquí, were selected by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) to be part of the “Quality Pilot Plan” of the Tourism Quality Certification System of Panama or SCCT (by its initials in Spanish).
The head of the Quality and Tourism Culture Department of the ATP, Soraya Alderete, explained that the SCCT was agreed upon in 2011 by companies of the tourism sector, government and the community. However, for this system to remain in force, the ATP Administrator, Gustavo Him, ordered that the Pilot Plan be drawn up and be initiated in the interior of the country. At the same time, he pointed out that before these 40 hotels were selected for the Pilot project, the Department of Quality and Tourism Culture had dictated a series of awareness raising workshops to the owners, managers and administrators on the importance of implementing this initiative. In these workshops, with each of these hotels and participants, it was explained to the seminarians what a quality management system is, its advantages, how the Panamanian system works and what benefits would be obtained.
The SCCT includes several stages, starting with the process of implementing the system within the company in order to align and train the staff in what is a quality management system. Once this objective has been achieved, the company is prepared to face an audit, and once the approval is granted the company receives a certification which is the document that validates their service and quality. “This kind of certification is what tilts the consumer’s balance when choosing certain hotels for their stay”, Alderete said.
At the same time, the system evaluates the part of environmental management including the process of re-use and recycling, in addition to qualifying the attention given to the tourist. As a result, the 40 hotels participating in this trial will have until May 2017 to fulfil these requirements. At that time they will be evaluated by international companies with expertise in this area together with the endorsement of the Panamanian government.