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ISO International Standards help support tourism and contribute to the objective of this year’s theme “Tourism and jobs: a better future for all”.

One of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is also one of the leading sectors for employment, accounting for about 10 % of jobs worldwide [1]. According to Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State (IC) for Tourism & Culture for India, the host country of this year’s World Tourism Day, development of tourism is directly linked with community development [2]. It is also a key driver of sustainable development. Many of ISO’s standards help support the sustainable development of tourism all over the world, creating more, and better, jobs. 

Natalia Ortiz de Zárate, Committee Manager of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 228, Tourism and related services, ISO’s committee of experts dedicated to the industry, said ISO has a number of standards aimed at improving the competence of those working in tourism.

ISO 24802, Recreational diving services – Requirements for the training of scuba instructors, and ISO 13970, Recreational diving services – Requirements for the training of recreational snorkelling guides, she said, are widely accepted standards that provide international best practice in training.

“They help to ensure a high level of quality, bringing benefits for the diving industry and the country’s tourism industry as a whole. Another example is ISO/TR 21102, Adventure tourism – Leaders – Personnel competence, a technical report that details what the market considers as required competencies, giving employers an internationally agreed benchmark and employees a competitive edge.”

Sustainability and safety are also passports to the industry’s success, she said, ensuring more attractive offerings for tourists and thus creating more jobs.

Below, you’ll find just a handful of ISO’s standards for improving sustainability, safety and professionalism in tourism activities, instilling confidence in travellers and reducing the environmental impact.

ISO 21101, Adventure tourism – Safety management systems – Requirements, gives adventure tourism activity providers a way to put in place a safety management system, ensuring participants have a great experience, and survive to tell the tale. It enables the adventure tourism operator to improve its safety performance, meet expectations for participant and staff safety, and support compliance with applicable legal requirements.

ISO 20611, Adventure tourism – Good practices for sustainability – Requirements and recommendations, outlines how adventure tourism organizations can operate sustainably and promote benign practices for both participants and local communities. Environmental sustainability, for example, can be upheld by careful planning and risk assessment, such as using renewable energy sources, having an awareness of waste regulations and areas with fragile ecosystems.

ISO 21401Tourism and related services – Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments – Requirements, helps the hospitality industry to reduce its impact on the environment, promote social exchange and make positive contributions to local economies.

In addition, the upcoming ISO 22525, Tourism and related services – Medical tourism – Service requirements (currently in development), will help healthcare providers in the medical tourism industry provide the level of quality that patients expect.

ISO standards for tourism are developed by ISO’s expert committee on the subject, ISO/TC 228, Tourism and related services. Watch this informative video or visit the technical committee’s own Website for more information.

International Standards for sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day is an annual event organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which participates in ISO committees that develop standards for tourism.

  1. World Travel and Tourism Council Economic Impact 2019 [PDF]
  2. UN World Tourism Organization, World Tourism Day message

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