The “unique demands” brought by an increase in tourism include a potential influx (and outflux) of bed bugs.
To avoid embarrassment and ensure that hotels, lodges and B&Bs will be ready to cope with the unique demands of the soccer spectacle, the Housekeepers’ Association of Southern Africa (HASA) has compiled a detailed action plan. In the 15-page dossier, the organisation has highlighted pitfalls and listed recommendations.
The recommendations include:
- Spraying beds for bed bugs before and after the tournament;
- What to do if a guest is found dead in a room;
- Teaching staff how to address royalty, ministers and VIPs properly;
- Stocking up on enough condoms and toilet rolls; and
- Installing machines to dispense common medicines like headache tablets.
I’m glad that bed bugs are among the concerns hotels are addressing, but I hope they are teaching housekeeping, maintenance, and other staff how to detect the problem, and also developing effective ongoing monitoring and treatment strategies.
Spraying mattresses will only go so far.
The local hoteliers are learning from their counterparts in other countries which have hosted the World Cup recently.
HASA’s executive manager, Simone Lobetti, said most hotels had already implemented the recommendations. She said the issues that needed attention were raised by industry players during a conference in September. Others were gleaned from the experiences of the previous host, Germany.
Bed bugs are already a problem in South Africa, as they are worldwide.
Cities and countries which are hosting major sporting events, and other events attracting lots of visitors, do need to consider bed bugs as part of their plan, since bed bugs are avid hitchhikers and are bound to accompany some of the visitors either arriving — or leaving — the host city.