Getting tourism back on its feet

How ISO standards contribute to the objectives of World Tourism Day 2021. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a particularly hard blow to the tourism industry, with estimated losses of up to USD 1.2 trillion in 2020 alone. The knock-on effect to the rest of the world economy, and many people’s livelihoods, is severe. This year’s theme for World Tourism Day is “Tourism for Inclusive Growth” and, recognizing the important contribution that tourism makes not just to our economy, but to celebrating cultures everywhere, ISO has developed a number of International Standards to help kick-start its recovery.

Recently published in direct response to the pandemic is ISO/PAS 5643, Tourism and related services – Requirements and guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the tourism industry. The publicly available specification (PAS) provides guidance that will help the tourism sector get back on its feet and welcome tourists in a safe environment. It is designed to help providers implement the best measures for everyone’s safety and reassure tourists as to the effectiveness of what they have in place.

The PAS has also been adopted by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) as the European Tourism COVID-19 Safety Seal, thus demonstrating its commitment to the guidelines and ensuring widespread uptake across the region.

ISO believes that travel and tourism should be something everyone can enjoy, regardless of their physical abilities. With this in mind, the recently published ISO 21902, Tourism and related services – Accessible tourism for all – Requirements and recommendations, provides requirements and guidelines to facilitate equal access and enjoyment of tourism by people of all ages and abilities. This includes anyone who might face accessibility issues or have specific access requirements, such as those with disabilities and the elderly.

These are just some of the many ISO standards that serve as important tools to help the tourism industry. Its dedicated technical committee ISO/TC 228, Tourism and related services, has published more than 30 standards to improve tourist services in such areas as protected natural environments, sustainable management of accommodation facilities and adventure tourism.

All of its standards contribute directly to achieving many of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

The secretariat of ISO/TC 228 is held by UNE, ISO’s member for Spain. 

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