Visit Walla Walla, with support from the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce, today unveiled a new “Peace of Mind Pledge” aimed at providing visitors to Walla Walla with additional assurance regarding health and safety once non-essential travel resumes.
“Research clearly shows that many Americans are eager to begin traveling again as soon as it is allowed, but concerns over their health and safety away from home are a primary barrier to doing so,” said Terra Luthi, Visit Walla Walla Board Member and General Manager of Eritage Resort. “As a community that is widely recognized for its wine, friendliness, and hospitality, we want to add safe and healthy to the list of qualities that come to mind when they hear the name Walla Walla. The Peace of Mind Pledge is one way we intend to accomplish this.”
According to travel research firm Destination Analysts, which has published the findings of its Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Report every week since March 13, more than 70 percent of American travelers miss traveling and are excited to return to travel when they feel it is safe.
The pledge is voluntary. Local businesses — including lodging properties, restaurants, wineries and breweries, tour operators, activity providers, and other businesses — are urged to sign on to demonstrate a commitment to meet, and even exceed, best practices with regard to health and safety. Among the standards that participating businesses pledge to uphold include:
- Prioritize visitor health and safety, even if doing so comes at an additional cost to their business.
- Develop and implement health and safety policies, procedures, and protocols specific to their business, and to implement and enforce them to safeguard visitors, the business and their employees, as well as the community at large.
- Follow, meet, and exceed — where possible or appropriate — the guidelines issued by local, state, or federal government.
- Adopt industry best practices such as those recommended by the CDC, American Hotel & Lodging Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Food & Drug Administration, and others.
- Implement and enforce social and physical distancing policies, minimize person-to-person contact, and increase transparency throughout the visitor journey.
“Although we are still in Phase I of the Safe Start Washington phased recovery, and only limited, non-essential travel is currently allowed, we see increasing interest among travelers who are starting to research and plan their first leisure trip once it is appropriate to do so,” said Luthi. “As we progress into Phases III and IV when all non-essential travel resumes, we want to keep Walla Walla top of mind while giving local businesses a platform to demonstrate their commitment to reassuring travelers that Walla Walla is a safe and healthy community eager to welcome them.”