The Palm Beaches Tourism Community is First Destination in Florida to Commit to Internationally Acclaimed Cleaning & Disinfection Accreditation for its Hospitality Facilities

Tourism Marketing Organization for Palm Beach County Reveals Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation program for the community that will aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Published Tuesday, June 2, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (June 2, 2020) – Traveling to The Palm Beaches will soon be backed by one of the industry’s highest standards of cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. Today, Discover The Palm Beaches (DTPB), Palm Beach County’s official tourism marketing organization, announced the destination’s commitment to pursuing the Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation for a broad spectrum of hospitality businesses in Palm Beach County. The program is supported by the Tourist Development Council (TDC) of Palm Beach County and its various agencies.

Palm Beach County is one of the first destinations in the United States, and the first and only destination in Florida, to pursue GBAC STAR accreditation on a destination-wide basis. GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association and is staffed with experience in academia such as Harvard Medical School, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, and Emory University, plus government agencies and nonprofits including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. According to a press release issued by ISSA, “GBAC STAR establishes requirements to assist facilities with work practices, protocols, procedures, and systems to control risks associated with infectious agents, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.”

Palm Beach County businesses eligible in the official recognition program include Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), Palm Beach County Convention Center, more than 150 hotels, cultural institutions, and the county’s two Major League Baseball Spring Training parks – FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Facilities must comply with all facets of GBAC STAR’s rigorous training and implementation program to earn accreditation as well as undergo annual audits by the council. PBI and the Convention Center have already begun their accreditation process.

“The Palm Beaches’ tourism and hospitality community is committed to the highest standards of cleanliness,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of DTPB. “Guests and employees should feel confident to return to their favorite hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions, which is why Discover The Palm Beaches, in collaboration with other TDC agencies, has established this unique destination-wide opportunity for the vast majority of our hotels and most popular venues to earn the GBAC STAR Accreditation.”

“We applaud Discover The Palm Beaches for its leadership in championing GBAC STAR accreditation across the community to ensure clean, safe and healthy facilities for residents and guests alike,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “GBAC STAR provides third-party validation that will help set accredited facilities apart in terms of their commitment to cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.”

GBAC STAR-accredited facilities will be able to:

  • Establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease program to control and/or minimize the risk associated with infectious agents such as SARS-CoV-2 (responsible for COVID-19) for employees, customers, clients, visitors, the community and the environment
  • Provide assurance and establish confidence that proper cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention work practices are in place and implemented
  • Establish a framework for communication and raising awareness of best practices as they relate to cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention.

The Palm Beaches’ commitment to GBAC STAR accreditation provides added confidence for residents, visitors and the tourism community. Additionally, it will streamline operations among our collective hospitality facilities, which began to implement expert safety guidelines upon reopening. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, DTPB had led various virtual seminars in partnership with industry leaders such as the Florida Department of Health – Palm Beach County, Florida Attractions Association, U.S. Travel Association, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Florida Retail Federation Services and the International SPA Association to educate local tourism and hospitality businesses. Behind-the-scenes tours of businesses displaying their elevated safety measures can be viewed on The Palm Beaches’ virtual Traveler Information hub.

DTPB will reveal next steps of the program rollout during its virtual Town Hall event on June 5 at 9 a.m. The Town Hall is open to the public and registration can be completed in this link

Editor’s Note: A two-minute video on YouTube about the Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation can be watched, here.    


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