ISO Standards for Tourism and Travel

A wheelchair user has access to the beach with the Council beach mat. Standards for tourism.
Photo courtesy Hobsons Bay City Council

Standards documents are rarely light reading. Similarly to legal documents they aren’t designed for skim reading. And they are rarely in plain language. However, if you can take the time to study standards and understand their structure, they are very helpful. The International Standards Organization (ISO) standards for tourism and travel are a case in point. 

Standard for Tourism and Related Services

Tourism is a global enterprise. It makes sense, therefore, for travellers to know what to expect when they go on holiday to any country. This is especially the case for people with disability. ISO recognises the economics of accessible and inclusive travel and consequently devised a standard. As an international standard it is possible to get some consistency across countries to support this growing industry. 

The title of the standard is, ISO Standard for Tourism and Related Services – Accessible tourism for all – requirements and recommendations. This document is based on the concept of ‘tourism for all”. The aim is to ensure equal access and enjoyment is experienced by everyone. It has key aspects of policy making, strategy, infrastructure, products and services in the tourism supply chain. A related standard is the Standard for Accessible Travel.

Standard for Accessible Travel

The ISO Standard for Accessible Travel has 5 key sections with sub-sections. 

    • The tourist office – When new to a city, often the first port of call is the tourist information office to make a plan of where to go and what to see. See the section on information offices and reception services
    • Accessibility every step of the journey – Most operators want people to enjoy their experiences. The guidelines for tourism and related services help operators with policy making, strategy, infrastructure, products and services. It’s about the whole tourism supply chain. It’s the overarching guide for tourism services.
    • Beaches for all –  the requirements and recommendations for beach operation is another subsection. It also outlines recommendations for the design of access ramps and boardwalks, toilets, showers and drinking fountains.
    • Tourism for all the senses – Braille is understood all over the world. There is a subsection on the application of Braille signage and for assistive products including tactile ground indicators. 
    • Accessibility in all standards – The Guide for addressing accessibility in standards is a standard for all other standards. Standards committees should be aware of this standard when they are devising a new standard or updating an old one. 

A toolkit from Ireland

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland’s toolkit on improving tourism business by applying the principles of universal design. The video below shows four case studies that reduced their complaints and increased their sales by following the advice in the toolkit which covers:

  • Business Objectives and Overview
  • Written Communication
  • Face-to-Face, Telephone & Video Communication
  • Electronic & Web Based Communication 

You can see more on the toolkit page of the CEUD website. There is also an Irish Standard, I.S.373:2013 “Universal Design for Customer Engagement in Tourism Services” available from SAI Global. 

Accessibility Toolbar