Given the general demand from the tourism sector to establish a series of protocols that minimize health and hygiene risks in tourist establishments and destinations where they are located and thus ensure a higher level of security against the spread of coronavirus, the Institute for Quality Tourism of Spain, in coordination with the Secretariat of State for Tourism (SET), will undertake the development of technical specifications for the prevention of Covid-19 in tourist products and destinations, to avoid a territorial dispersion of protocols and provide a tool agreed and supported by health experts. The preparation of the technical specifications has begun in the subsectors of accommodation, restaurants, beaches and spas. Later, it will be continued with the rest of the subsectors that have standards.
As the managing body responsible for the promotion and preparation of quality standards in the tourism sector, the Institute is leading this initiative and is advised by the Organización Médico Colegial (OMC), the body that represents Spain’s registered doctors; the Asociación Española de Especialistas en Medicina del Trabajo (AEEMT) and the Asociación Española de Servicios de Prevención Laboral (AESPLA). The final objective is to standardise the provision of tourist products and services by guaranteeing, on a voluntary basis, the fulfilment of rigorous protocols to minimise health and hygiene risks both among workers and with tourists.
In the face of a long struggle such as the one foreseen by COVID 19, ICTE wants to guarantee that the opening of tourist establishments and destinations is carried out with the greatest possible security, offering the tourist sector a tool that allows the implementation of a series of health and hygiene security protocols in all the departments involved in the service processes that guarantee the minimization of risks against the coronavirus. In this sense the president of the ICTE, Miguel Mirones, emphasized the fact that they are working together with products and destinations, “so that both the establishments and the environments in which they are located are committed in a common way to take the necessary measures to minimize the risks of propagation of the Covid-19. In the foreseeable scenario in which tourism activity can be developed when the health authorities allow the reopening of establishments, potential tourists will seek maximum security, but not only of the product they want to enjoy, but also to know that the municipality in which it is located has also taken all appropriate prevention measures. In short, the public-private partnership will cease to be a desire to become almost an obligation for those destinations that want to reposition themselves in the market.
Development of a brand
The ICTE’s Board of Directors, with representation from the Secretariat of State for Tourism (SET), the representation of the Autonomous Communities, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) and the national employers’ associations from all the tourism sub-sectors, also agreed to design a seal that will allow those who comply with these specifications to accredit their implementation in order to generate confidence in clients and workers.
Likewise, the fact that the ICTE’s Board of Directors includes both public and private institutions – the Secretary of State for Tourism, the Autonomous Communities, the FEMP, and the national employers’ associations for hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, campsites, rural tourism, spas, road transport, active tourism and nautical tourism – guarantees the transversality of this initiative that aims to reach both the public and private sectors of our country as far as tourism is concerned. The Board of Directors has also approved to direct all institutions and companies in the tourism sector towards these technical specifications elaborated by the ICTE to plan the restart of the tourism activity and thus avoid the dispersion of documents and stamps that could generate confusion both in the companies and destination managers as well as in the clients.
The Institute for Tourism Quality currently has certificates for different public management resources such as beaches, conference centres and tourist offices in 185 municipalities throughout Spain and approximately 1,700 companies in 27 tourism subsectors.