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What you need to know about the New European Tourism Covid-19 Safety Seal

What you need to know about the New European Tourism Covid-19 Safety Seal
Copyright  euronews
By Paul Hackett

The gold standard in health and safety: What businesses need to know about Europe’s new tourism COVID safety seal

The recently launched European Tourism COVID-19 Safety Seal aims to improve and harmonise health and safety measures across Europe’s travel and hospitality sector.

The hope is it will lead to an increase in confidence among tourists and travellers for the 2021 summer holiday season.

Business Planet spoke to Natalia Ortiz de Zárate from the Spanish Association for Standardization who helped design the safety seal.

What exactly is the European Tourism COVID-19 Safety Seal? How does it differ from some of the national coronavirus health and safety protocols already in place?

Natalia Ortiz de Zárate:

"The European Tourism COVID-19 Safety Seal is a voluntary document (CEN Workshop Agreement) developed by the European Committee for Standardization. This document is divided into two parts and includes requirements and recommendations for tourism organisations who wish to safely reopen and operate their business. The document is closely aligned to the current health and safety protocols of several European countries and is identical to the International Specification ISO/PAS 5643".

Will obtaining the seal result in extra costs for my business? If so, is financial support available?

Natalia Ortiz de Zárate:

"If a business is already complying with health and safety rules, the chances are it will not require much further investment (from a sanitary perspective) to adapt the business’ operations to the required measures. If countries decide to apply a fee for tourist organisations that wish to use the seal, EU Member States have been advised to make use of structural funds (e.g. REACT-EU, CRII, CRII+), in order to lessen the burden on SMEs".

How is this initiative being implemented across Europe to ensure companies meet the standards that the badge requires?

Natalia Ortiz de Zárate:

"To avoid misuse, the European Committee for Standardization has set out a minimum framework for countries to implement controls when using the safety seal. Implementation will vary between countries since under this common framework, competent national authorities might establish different systems. In addition, the speed of implementation might depend on how the safety seal’s requirements compare to other national protocols already in place. If they are aligned with the CWA (CEN Workshop Agreement), the European Seal might be displayed in conjunction with a national Seal".

If I’m a business owner and I want to obtain the safety seal, what’s the next step?

Natalia Ortiz de Zárate:

"First, find out if the country in which you operate intends to make the safety seal available. It will usually be the Ministry of Tourism, but could also be the Ministry of Economy or Health. You then need to check if you meet the requirements, and if not, adapt your operation accordingly. The next step is to apply to use the seal. You can do this by contacting your competent national authority. They will make sure you conform with the measures and grant you permission to use it. You can download the seal for free on the CEN website. Once you have implemented the requirements you can safely display the European COVID-19 Safety Seal, knowing that you’re in compliance with a protocol (CWA 5643) that has been approved by a recognized body (CEN) with the support of the European Commission".