Visit Corpus Christi Encourages South Texas Hospitality and Safety through GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation

Opportunity

Located in the Gulf Coast Capital of Texas, Corpus Christi offers popular attractions, outdoor experiences, cultural venues, shopping, and more with South Texas hospitality. With a population of more than 300,000 and more than 8 million visitors per year, the city is both a beloved home and destination.

Visit Corpus Christi, a 501c6 Destination Management Organization (DMO), has a mission to create a better community by sharing Corpus Christi with the world. Upholding this promise was especially essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the wake of the pandemic, our organization wanted to make sure we were doing everything in our power to provide a healthy and safe space for both visitors and locals,” said Brett Oetting, president and CEO of Visit Corpus Christi. “As a prime spot for travel in Texas, we knew it was our responsibility to help our partners and larger attractions navigate this never-before-seen challenge.”

Solution

At the outset of the pandemic, Visit Corpus Christi launched its Stay Safe Pledge. The pledge details best practices for businesses and guests, such as cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces and common areas, limiting capacity as directed to support social distancing, staying home when feeling unwell, using hand sanitizer as needed, and more.

To further build confidence among residents and tourists, the destination wanted to demonstrate its readiness. Visit Corpus Christi learned about GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC), a Division of ISSA. The accreditation for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery is reserved for facilities that showcase compliance with 20 key elements related to leadership, training, and management for biorisks. Designed for facilities of all types and sizes, the program was an ideal solution for Corpus Christi.

“Visit Corpus Christi has embraced a new standard of cleanliness with GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation,” added Oetting. “We regularly encourage our partners to promote their accreditation status to ensure we effectively and consistently communicate to the public that Corpus Christi is leading the way with regards to public health and safety.”

Results

GBAC STAR accredited facilities in Corpus Christi include Corpus Christi International Airport, American Bank Center, Art Museum of South Texas, and USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.

There are many benefits associated with accreditation, including:

Responsibly promoting safe travel and local fun. GBAC STAR accreditation helped Visit Corpus Christi overcome one of its top concerns: how would the public react to promotional ad campaigns resuming? As the standard for cleaning and disinfection, GBAC STAR has helped Visit Corpus Christi educate the public that the city is safe for travelers and residents alike. Putting locals at ease was especially important, as the community wanted assurance about having visitors return to the city during a pandemic.

“Accredited facilities give people peace of mind that the necessary precautions are being taken to ensure a great experience for everyone,” said Oetting. “There has been positive sentiment around GBAC STAR accreditation, as people are proud that our organization and various partners are demonstrating a commitment to cleanliness and safety.”

Securing and supporting events. Visit Corpus Christi views GBAC STAR accreditation as a tool when pitching larger groups and conventions to host events. Accredited partners have not closed their doors since receiving the designation, and Corpus Christi’s largest venue, the American Bank Center, and other facilities have been able to host safe indoor events. According to Oetting, “GBAC STAR accreditation definitely helped visitor perspective and sentiment towards indoor events in some of our bigger attractions and venues.”

Simplifying the reinstatement of pandemic precautions. Like many other parts of the country and the world, Corpus Christi has witnessed an increase in COVID-19 cases related to the Delta variant. Thankfully, accredited facilities have been able to easily reinstate protocols like social distancing, mask wearing, and temperature checks. GBAC STAR serves as a helpful guide since accredited facilities are required to outline their standard operating procedures, emergency response, and more.

“GBAC STAR is a much-needed accreditation that validates our standard of cleanliness and serves as a code of ethics and commitment to safety,” added Oetting. “As opposed to the beginning of the pandemic, we now have something to fall back on knowing we are doing everything in our power to be a safe destination and place to live.”