Tourism has become one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world accounting for an average of 5% of worldwide GDP. For many developing countries it is one of the main sources of foreign exchange income and the number one export category, creating much needed employment and opportunities for development.

In 2011, international tourism receipts exceeded US$ 1 trillion for the first time, up from US$ 928 billion in 2010. In real terms, receipts grew by 3.8%, following a 4.6% increase in international tourist arrivals. The first results of 2012 indicate that international tourism continued to show sustained growth in spite of challenging economic conditions. International tourist arrivals are projected to increase by some 3% to 4% in 2012. For the year as a whole, the number of international tourist arrivals is expected to reach one billion for the first time, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer.

Increased pressure on the industry

Tourism, rather tourists, as defined by the UNWTO, are people who “travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for more than twentyfour hours and not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.” As this industry grows, there is increasing pressure from tourists for:

  • Safe travel
  • Uniqueness
  • Health and food safety
  • Environmental stewardship and sustainability commitments, amongst others

Some of this pressure is passed on to intermediates, like tour operators, who want to minimize the “risks”. As new regulations come into force, the entire chain needs to be addressed and solutions proposed to the major stakeholders, of which hotels and more precisely resorts play a key role.

Independent expertise pays high dividents

Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Escherichia Coli O157:H7, Norovirus and Hepatitis A are just some of the bacteria and viruses responsible for food poisoning outbreaks. Sometimes these bacteria and viruses are spread to food from infected food handlers in hotel kitchens. To help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses food handlers should receive food safety training and strictly abide by proper handwashing and where necessary glove usage. Likewise swimming pools and spas can present a health hazard to hotel patrons. Infectious diseases can be acquired in swimming and spa pools causing gastrointestinal, skin, eye, ear and upper respiratory infections. When water quality and microbial hazards are not adequately monitored, bacteria such as Shigella, Escherichia Coli O157:H7 and Legionella can proliferate and infect hotel guests.

One of SGS main services offering to the hospitality and tourism sector remains in terms of Food Safety and Hygiene Monitoring. The scheme developed by affiliates like Germany, Spain, Hong Kong or Mauritius consists of regular, unannounced and independent assessment of the establishment, combining the expertise of both laboratories and auditors to assess the level of food safety. The scheme is based on three main components: 

  • Audit of premises and practices, including pictures;
  • Sampling and laboratory testing in our ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited laboratory;
  • Reporting with a scoring system and a follow-up mechanism from one audit to the other.

The above scheme can be adapted to suit one’s specific requirements with additional features or customization. Certificate and use of SGS mark are applicable under certain conditions.

SGS is currently putting together a complete service offering to the hotel sector by integrating a wide array of services and expertise across its different business activities taking into consideration specificities of different countries while developing new services, including schemes / standards in line with the specific needs of the hospitality and tourism industry.

The idea is that our SGS service offering is not only in line with the basic need of the industry but above all provides Safety and Re-assurance thus helping to build confidence, protect one’s brand and reduce insurance and health claims

For more info on SGS services for the hospitality industry visit SGS Food Safety.

Géraldine Koenig 
Regional Business Development Manager
Tourism & Hospitality
SGS (Mauritius) Ltd
t: +230 696 8808


SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.