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Generally speaking, a standard is a "model to refer to " or "a procedure the repeated use of which allows for delivery of products or services with same specific characteristics ". Standards in that sense are common in and very useful to hospitality establishments. However, what are at stake here are formal standards developed within the context of official standardisation bodies. Such bodies exist at several levels: national (e.g. AENOR, AFNOR, BSI and DIN), European (CEN) and international (ISO).

While the use of standards remains voluntary, the European Union has, since the mid-1980s, made an increasing use of standards in support of its policies and legislation. Standardisation has contributed to the completion of the Single Market for goods in the context of the "New Approach'": legislative measures define minimum requirements, whose technical specificities are detailed in European standards developed by CEN. Until recently, standards were mainly developed for goods.

Directive 2006/123 on services in the internal market calls for the development of European standards for services with the aim of, inter alia, facilitating information to the recipient as well as the compatibility and the quality of services.

European standards in relation to services (sector-specific or horizontal) may concern activities provided by hospitality businesses. Although supposedly voluntary in principle, standards become easily mandatory. Standards can be integrated into law and also be used as a benchmark by tribunals and courts, thus making them binding on the industry.

For these reasons, HOTREC constantly monitors the work of standardisation bodies at European and international level. In particular, HOTREC is following very closely the activities of the ISO Technical Committee (TC) 228 on "Tourism and related services".

EU activities in the area of standardisation fall under the responsibility of the Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR).


Key EU measures:

Main HOTREC documents:

  • Letter to ISO TMB on the Business Plan of ISO TC 228  14 June 2010

  • HOTREC reply to Commission consultation on standardisation  20 May 2010

  • ECTAA/HOTREC letter on the meeting venues of ISO TC 228   1 March 2010

  • HOTREC position on standards at European and international level  6 November 2009

  • Comments on proposal for standards on environmentally friendly accommodation  15 April 2009

  • Comments on a proposal for standards on safety and security in tourism  26 March 2009