Star system could boost safety issues

19 January 2006
Star system could boost safety issues

I would like to draw attention to this month's launch of a new star rating system for British hotels, as I think tourism chiefs have missed a huge opportunity.

While I welcome the proposal to create a more straightforward system that's easier for the public to understand, it seems there are no plans to incorporate health and safety concerns into the ratings process.

From this month there's a legal obligation for food-serving establishments in the UK to implement the HACCP system for food hygiene to reduce the level of hazards that customers and guest may face, but this ensures only a relatively basic level of cleanliness.

It's great news for tourists that the UK is taking these issues more seriously, but hygiene standards will vary hugely. There are approaches to hotel health and safety far more comprehensive than HACCP being undertaken throughout the world, and the star system is just the kind of vehicle that's required to promote this good work to potential customers.

HACCP is a starting point for protecting guests against becoming ill and, at the very least, I would expect tourism chiefs to request proof of compliance when rating an establishment. Surely a move like this would help to raise the profile of hygiene concerns and encourage both hoteliers and guests to be more proactive?

Mark Harrington
CEO, Check Safety First

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