The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has released a new standard for tourist accommodation facilities.
ISO 21401, titled Tourism and related services — Sustainability Management System for Accommodation Establishments — Requirements, lists the environmental, social and economic requirements for implementing a sustainability management system in tourist accommodation, and addresses issues such as human rights, health and safety for employees and guests, environmental protection, water and energy consumption, waste generation and the development of the local economy.
According to a press release, tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economic sectors, with billions of people travelling each year – and numbers are expected to grow by 3.3% annually until 2030.
Manuel Otero, chair of the ISO technical committee that created the standard, said there are many initiatives in the market that accommodation providers could use to help them improve their environmental practices, but none that integrate the social and economic aspects as well, or are free from commercial interests.
“The fact that there are many schemes for sustainable accommodation from different countries and organizations can make it difficult for such facilities to know what is useful and reliable and how to meet their requirements,” he said.
“This internationally agreed standard provides clarity in a confusing market, applies to all types of accommodation and can serve as a tool to improve sustainable management. It will also help to stimulate the market for more sustainability in both the accommodation sector and the tourism industry as a whole.”
Alexandre Garrido, the convenor of the working group involved in the standard’s development, said that facilities that implement a sustainability management system based on ISO 21401 will be able to attest to their guests and to the whole market that they are sustainable businesses.
“ISO 21401 will benefit accommodation facilities by strengthening their management and improving their reputation, while providing better-quality services to clients and improving relationships with suppliers, employees and the local community,” he said.
Watch a video by ISO on the new standard below: