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Hotel Certification for Quality and Safety for Health and Sensitive Clients- H STAR II- BLUE SERVICE FOR EXCELLENCE

Health Tourism is rapidly becoming a global trend. People with different health needs or chronic diseases choose to travel abroad to receive treatment by combining it with the travel experience.

Because of their specific needs and expectations, the convergent categories of travellers (medical tourists, wellness customers and sensitive customers) require that hotels and hospitality operators in general ensure that they provide appropriate, safe and efficient accommodation services.

The hospitality sector is expected to benefit significantly from these new opportunities and the economic growth of the Health and Medical Tourism market.

The H STAR II- BLUE SERVICE FOR EXCELLENCE certification programme was developed specifically for tourists with chronic health problems, sensitive clients and medical/health tourists with the aim of ensuring that hospitality businesses provide them with a quality and safe service.

The HSTAR II standard constitutes a framework of standards and best international practices of high level regarding quality management and safety issues that may arise during the accommodation and service of sensitive persons, as well as to meet specific requirements for the effective management of medical/health tourists.

Advantages at a glance

By ensuring a smooth, quality and safe accommodation experience for sensitive clients and health and wellness tourists and obtaining the HSTAR II certification seal:

  • -The number of elderly tourists, patients with chronic disease who may travel regularly, health tourists travelling for selective treatments of these and their companions is enhanced in the target groups for the hotel business; –
  • -The hospitality business is an attraction for thousands of tourists from all over the world, as well as for large operators interested in ‘packages’ of safe but quality accommodation and wellness services, with guaranteed awareness of their health issues across the range of services provided by the hotel.
  • -The feeling of confidence in the company’s wellness spa services is reinforced

Reliability and trust in the hotel provider

  • -More effective service for guests with chronic conditions, mild problems or regular health needs or increased health concerns during the holiday
  • -Safe Support of accommodation and other support services to Medical/Health Tourists within the Medical Tourism or Health Tourism services
  • -Strengthening the overall measures relating to the health security of clients
  • -Strengthening the hotel’s competitive profile in the health and wellness tourism market
  • -Achieve wide recognition by the relevant stakeholders in the sector
  • -International networking

Application for certification

In order to apply for the certification of the Business, the online application form is completed in the Offers section of the Swiss Approval website. The text of the specifications and compliance criteria of the HSTAR II – BLUE SERVICE for EXCELLENCE Standard is then accessed.

Upon receipt of the standard, the Company can begin to adapt to the requirements in order to obtain HSTAR II certification.

Subsequently, the issuance of a financial offer regarding the requested certification project.

Requirements for certification

A ‘Business’ applying for ‘HSTAR II’ certification under the current framework of compliance requirements must meet the following basic requirements:

  1. 1. Operate as a legally licensed ‘Company’/’Provider’/’Organisation’ of hospitality services in the country of establishment, in accordance with the existing national legal and regulatory framework in force.
  2. 2. It has been rated with at least ‘4’ stars with regard to the level of quality of its services according to the current national/international applicable hotel classification system.
  3. 3. It meets the “H STAR I” criteria (the compliance process can be initiated simultaneously for both standards) and in addition,
  4. 4. It applies:

– An operational and adequately documented quality management system in accordance with the criteria of the “H STAR II” framework of standards.

– A functioning food hygiene and safety management system in accordance with the HACCP/ISO 22000 standard, or equivalent.

The above management systems should be adapted and operated by the Company, in accordance with the requirements of “H STAR II”, incorporating the additional safety and quality assurance standards in the services provided, and the philosophy of continuous improvement.

The Hotel Company that is certified with the “H STAR II” system and accommodates Medical Tourists or International Patients, should officially cooperate with a health facility that is officially licensed and provides health care services at a high level (meeting the requirements of the “Blue service for Excellence”).

Pre-inspection stage and staff training

Subsequently, the hotel will have to go through a pre-assessment process during the preparation process, which is conducted by specialists and industry experts in accordance with the requirements and compliance criteria of the Standard.

An important step in the preparation process is the training of hotel staff in the following subjects:

  1. 1. Cultural Empathy
  2. 2. Health Safety in Hospitality – Special Needs of Sensitive Customers and Health Tourists

Swiss Approval’s help desk assists in the client preparation process, in case clarifications are needed

Relevant documentation should be available and submitted to the operator in order to demonstrate that the requirements of the standard are met and compliance with the required actions. Upon completion of all procedures necessary for compliance, all documentation and associated evidence should be submitted to the Swiss Approval Certification Department in accordance with the relevant stated instructions.

A scheduled audit visit to the Firm’s premises should be carried out after the submission of the documentation, by Swiss Approval quality experts, in order to conduct an on-site assessment inspection and to verify the level of compliance of the services with the H STAR II criteria.

Certification Decision

The Certification Manager will evaluate all relevant documents and evidence (as well as the inspectors’ report), and will independently and objectively decide on certification or the existence of significant deviations and reject the certification.