Hotel industry nearer to global standard

TC 228, a Technical Committee formally set up in February 2005 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to draft international standards in the field of “Tourism & Related Services” may finally have reached consensus on the scope of its work programme. This was the objective given to a Task Force which convened in Madrid on 1 June.

The outcome was a recommendation to exclude Accommodation and Catering from the formal Scope of the TC’s Work programme.

This recommendation will now be submitted to a vote by correspondence by all the participating members of the ISO TC, some 30 national standards bodies across the globe.  A two-thirds majority is required to approve this new Scope of Work. ISO is an organization made up of national standards organizations around the world.  As a non-profit trade association representing the hospitality industry, the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) is granted “liaison status,” and as such, is not entitled to vote. 

IH&RA, recognized by the United Nations as the “voice” of the hotel and restaurant industry worldwide, has been lobbying to have Accommodation and Catering excluded from the formal ‘Scope’ of the Work of ISO TC 228 on Tourism & Related Services.  This is the first step towards a positive outcome for the hospitality industry.

IH&RA maintains that any standards for the hospitality industry should be driven by the industry at the national level (as is currently the case in most countries worldwide).  IH&RA also asserts that: international standards are not a pre-requisite for quality, that they lead to superimposition of standards at various levels resulting in increased financial and administrative costs for operators and that they should not be formulated by international organizations without full industry support. 

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David McMillan, IH&RA CEO, who participated in the ISO TC 228 Task Force meeting in Madrid as a non-voting Liaison Representative, was gratified by this wise decision to exclude accommodation & catering from the Scope of Work and is hopeful that this recommendation will be maintained when the all members of ISO TC 228 take a vote shortly. 

“ISO-proposed ‘International Standards for Tourism & Related Services’ covering accommodation and catering would lead to huge increases in operating costs to the hospitality industry and subsequent price increases for consumers,” said McMillan. “In addition, these voluntary standards frequently are legislated in and form the basis for judgements by tribunals and courts.”

“International Standards for hotels and restaurants would become an unnecessary additional layer of top-heavy bureaucracy that would potentially result in loss of jobs, limited development and frustrated consumers who demand and have the right to expect ever increasing standards of facilities and services everywhere, a result of well constructed and ever improving National Standards,” added Mr. McMillan.
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