When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the world literally stopped still. With no-one going anywhere, the tourism industry was hard hit, suffering a drop in revenues of some USD 460 billion globally in the first half of 2020. While border restrictions have eased dramatically since, the industry is still plagued with the challenge of attracting tourists back in a safe and sanitary way.
Recognizing the many challenges that the industry is facing, ISO has started work on a new set of guidelines to help tourism providers navigate the best measures for everyone’s safety and reassure tourists of the effectiveness of what they have in place.
The future publicly available specification ISO/PAS 5643, Tourism and related services – Measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the tourism industry, will help everyone in the sector – accommodation providers, museums, transport, experiences, activities and guides – to provide safer services and prevent the spread of the virus.
Natalia Ortiz de Zárate Crespo, Manager of the expert committee that is developing the document, said it will use the guidelines recently developed by the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE), ISO’s member for Spain, as a starting point and also draw on other existing national and international guidelines, such as those from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), and take them even further.
“We have taken into account all such existing advice, covering the requirements related to social distancing, masks and disinfection, but will also detail aspects such as controlling access and contingency plans should unexpected situations occur,” she said.
The development of the guidance is being coordinated by the Spanish Institute for Tourism Quality (ICTE), with many other countries involved.
“The new specification will bring together the latest international best practice and expertise from those who are at the heart of the industry and know the challenges that they face,” adds Project Leader Maria Cruz Cádiz.
In addition, ISO, together with UNE, is holding a public webinar on tourism recovery in a post-COVID environment. Held on 21 October under the theme “Tourism and the impacts of COVID-19: the role of standards in mitigating the crisis”, the event will feature experts from organizations such as the UNWTO, the International Chamber of Commerce, the ICTE, Tourism Portugal, standards experts, and more.
The webinar will outline case studies of national experiences, guidelines for governments and the private sector and a needs-gap analysis of standards required as well as those currently available and in development.
For further information and registration details, see our dedicated webinar page.
ISO/PAS 5643, Tourism and related services – Measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the tourism industry, is being developed by technical committee ISO/TC 228, Tourism and related services, the secretariat of which is held by UNE. It is expected to be published in 2021.