Working together with Spain’s institute for quality tourism (ICTE), the Spanish Association for Standardization recently published a series of national specifications that provide guidance and recommendations relating to COVID-19.
As millions of Spaniards and foreign tourists alike come out of lockdown measures, many are looking for a well-earned break from the stresses that confinement can bring. Once again, people are starting to head for Spain’s world-class beaches and historical cities. The new specifications, known as UNE 0066, comprise directives and security measures that will help those working in tourism to keep coronavirus under control.
The specifications apply to a range of sectors and operators including: travel agencies and tourism offices, restaurants, hotels and rental apartments, public transport, wineries, museums and heritage sites. Responding to an urgent need, the project received full support from Spain’s Secretary for Tourism and was developed in record time. ICTE took on the substantial task of drafting the documents and getting the consensus of the relevant stakeholders in order to provide a clear, harmonized protocol to be applied across the country.
Spain’s Ministry of Health gave their support to the specifications, highlighting the effectiveness of the public-private partnership behind the initiative. The specifications supplement UNE tourism standards as well as public-health measures that apply to both residents and visitors, including social distancing, preventative behaviour, and wearing protective masks. But the new specifications go much further, covering areas such as cleaning and disinfection, assessing and controlling access, PPE for staff, contactless payment and booking systems, and the development of contingency plans.
In many countries, one of the challenges that individuals and businesses have faced in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has been the lack of a consistent approach, even at the national level. Now, UNE has provided a unified set of guidelines to be applied everywhere. It underlines the important role of standards in bringing clarity and establishing confidence.
ISO’s technical committee on tourism and related services will be looking closely at ways to support the industry and prevent further spread of COVID-19 at their plenary meeting, which is being held online today. The UNE specifications have the potential to be used as a sound basis for ISO/TC 228 to further develop consensus at international level.
With the new specifications, Spain’s hope is that economic recovery, and enjoying a well-earned holiday, won’t come at the expense of public health. Made available free of charge, tourism businesses of all sizes will benefit from unambiguous guidance on how to protect both their employees and their customers.