View of Abu Dhabi Skyline at evening with reflection on water, United Arab Emirates
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Innovative programme expansion sees multiple stakeholders involved in the standardisation of health and safety levels across the emirate

Dubai, NFAPost: The Go Safe Certification Programme, an initiative spearheaded by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is continuing to be rolled out across the emirate as DCT Abu Dhabi works towards its target of standardising health and safety measures across 100% of all retail, tourism, and commercial establishments in Abu Dhabi.

The ambitious and ground-breaking initiative has brought together the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), Aldar Properties, Modon Properties (Modon), Yas Theme Parks and attractions, as well as Etihad Airways in a joint partnership created to combat the spread of COVID-19 and keep the local economy moving by reassuring visitors and residents they are safe to visit any establishment because of the stringent safety protocols in place.

Building on the campaign’s notable success, the partnership paves the way for the capital to become 100% Go Safe-certified as further establishments, managed by participating partners, become part of the certification’s expanded implementation plan. Following clear and rigorous guidelines, the partners will now play a key role in ensuring their respective establishments complete all the checkpoints and implement measures required to attain the certificate.

Since its launch in June 2020, and in collaboration with key authorities, DCT Abu Dhabi has certified 95% of hotels, as well as Yas Marina Circuit, four theme parks on Yas Island, 33 malls across the capital, and two cinemas, after conducting rigorous on-site inspections.

Following stringent guidelines based on recommended practices from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Go Safe ensures a safe environment for both residents and visitors. In addition to inspections, regular COVID-19 testing for staff across the tourism and retail sector has been made mandatory.

The first step of the programme is guided self-assessments that establishments undergo as per guidelines and checklists provided by DCT Abu Dhabi, followed by thorough site inspections conducted by dedicated teams to ensure compliance to the highest standards of cleanliness.

Those who meet the requirements are awarded the Go Safe certificate, which signals to consumers their readiness to receive visitors and maintain hygiene standards. With more establishments currently undergoing the assessment process, DCT Abu Dhabi aims to ensure the entire UAE capital is Go Safe certified.

DCT Abu Dhabi Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing Ali Hassan Al Shaiba said DCT Abu Dhabi’s Go Safe campaign has underpinned Abu Dhabi’s efforts to safely reopen its attractions for domestic and international visitors.

As we enter 2021, maintaining these high standards of safety and hygiene remains our top priority for protecting public health while empowering the economic contribution of our partners in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. With even more partners signed up to this rigorous certification programme, we look forward to implementing Go Safe effectively across the capital, to achieve our goal of a completely Go Safe destination,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba.

The Go Safe certification initiative aligns with ADDED’s efforts to boost economic activities in the emirate despite the spread of COVID-19 by utilising key measures that ensure and raise the level of safety while conducting business and strengthening the confidence of customers and visitors in all commercial areas in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development’s (ADDED) Abu Dhabi Business Centre (ADBC) Acting Executive Director Rabih Al Hajeri said ADDED is committed to continuously work with its partners and other relevant entities to enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as among the safest cities in the world.

“It will in turn promote the emirate’s competitiveness and attract more investments, business, and tourism footfall. These are essential steps that will enable the emirate to maintain growth trajectory especially in vital sectors,” said Rabih Al Hajeri.

Essa Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Executive Director of the Infrastructure and Assets Sector at Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said as a key partner of the Go Safe initiative, DMT is actively supporting DCT Abu Dhabi and its holistic approach to revive tourism attractions, and the retail and hospitality sectors across the emirate.

“Collectively and confidently, this partnership will ensure the safest and most secure environment for all our residents and visitors,” said Essa Mubarak Al Mazrouei.

To support these efforts, Essa Mubarak Al Mazrouei said DMT is currently piloting the Go Safe Certification Programme at one of Abu Dhabi’s public parks, with plans for a phased rollout in all public places.

“This complements one of DMT’s main priorities, to effectively utilise its capabilities in sterilising public places across the emirate, in accordance with best international practices, while safeguarding and promoting the health, wellbeing and quality of life of every individual. It is important that we uphold these principles and share this responsibility in enabling the public to progressively return to a normal lifestyle,” said Essa Mubarak Al Mazrouei.

Jassem Busaibe, Chief Investment Officer of Aldar Properties, said Abu Dhabi’s leadership has made significant strides in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of its residents and visitors during these unprecedented times.

“A real example of those efforts is from the Go Safe programme, which has provided a useful structure for compliance across many business sectors to promote and ensure public safety. As a responsible business, Aldar is determined to shoulder the responsibility, and to become the first company in Abu Dhabi to have its entire portfolio of hotels recognised as Go Safe-compliant is a testament to this. We remain committed to providing the highest standards of health and safety across our portfolio of leisure, retail and property assets, and we look forward to continuing a successful partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi,” said Jassem Busaibe.

Alhasan Kaabous Alzaabi, Vice President of Operations at Yas Island Theme Parks and Attractions, said Yas Theme Parks and attractions are some of the UAE’s most popular leisure and entertainment attractions, and as such it was pivotal for us to prioritise achieving the Go Safe certification to give our guests added peace of mind.

‘We are wholeheartedly committed to maintaining the health and safety of our guests during this time, be it through the strict and comprehensive implementation of precautionary measures within our parks and attractions or our ongoing efforts to engage with guests on how to play their part in staying safe when they visit us,” said Alhasan Kaabous Alzaabi.

“We are confident that the comprehensive measures we have taken, which are in line with international best practices and standards, will continue to provide a safe and enjoyable family-friendly environment for our guests and staff,” he added.

Etihad Aviation Group Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said thanks to Abu Dhabi’s rigorous testing and safety precautions in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the capital has cemented its position as one of the safest cities for visitors.

“Etihad Airways has led the aviation sector in its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus with the introduction of Etihad Wellness, our health and hygiene programme. We sought to restore confidence in air travel through this step and provide the highest levels of hygiene and sterilisation throughout the travellers’ journey. Etihad also introduced specially trained Wellness Ambassadors who provide essential health advice and primary care for our guests,” said Tony Douglas.

In addition, Tony Douglas said Etihad is the only airline in the world to ensure 100% PCR testing of all guests both before departure and again on arrival in Abu Dhabi, which gives complete peace of mind for everyone on board.

“Etihad has united with entities across Abu Dhabi to provide an unwavering commitment to safety and a unified approach to wellness. With the introduction of the “Go Safe” Certificate initiative by the Department of Culture and Tourism, the programme will enhance visitors’ confidence in travel to the emirate during this unprecedented period,” said Tony Douglas.

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