Rural accommodation with "safe tourism" stamp, yes or no?



Rural accommodation faces the summer with a scenario in which there are many announcements of guarantee stamps for "safe tourism", while the Government insists that the important thing is to follow the prevention measures endorsed by Health and travelers debate in doubt : stamp yes or stamp no.

Given the increase in reservations that rural houses have registered for the months of July, August and September, a small relief after months of closure forced by the state of alarm, searches for establishments with the labels that guarantee spaces have also increased. free from covid-19.

However, sources in the sector recall that there is no place free of the virus, as it is promoted in some places, but rather establishments where adequate measures are taken to prevent infections.

GUIDES WITH RECOMMENDATIONS

Precisely, the Government has released around twenty guides with recommendations on how to proceed in different specialized sectors, such as rural accommodation, natural areas or restaurants.

These documents include measures such as the use of personal protective equipment, hygiene guidelines among employees and in establishments, or instructions for clients.

The Secretary of State for Tourism has specified to Efe that, beyond any seal or badge, "the most important thing to guarantee the safety of tourists, workers and residents is that all establishments in the tourist value chain follow the guidelines and recommendations "of the guides issued by them," the only visas for Health ".

Even so, "for those who want to make this effort to create safe environments visible", it has made available the "Responsible Tourism" badge, which can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for free.

Another institution that has issued a certificate is the Spanish Tourist Quality Institute (ICTE), which also manages the Q for Quality seal.

The seal, called "Safe Tourism Certified", is obtained after passing an audit, carried out by companies recognized by the entity, which guarantees - for a period of one year - that the measures of Government recommended security.

The president of ICTE, Miguel Mirones, has explained to Efe that obtaining this certificate is a guarantee of "safe spaces" both for accommodation workers and for travelers and neighbors, given that this institution has been recognized by the Ministry of Tourism itself for the realization of the disseminated guides and also has years of experience.

SAFETY THROUGHOUT THE CHAIN

However, he specified that "for the system to be effective, the prevention system must be implemented throughout the value chain of the tourism sector."

"It is useless for a person to be in a rural tourism establishment that has implemented their protocols and certified them if they do not do the same in the surroundings", he explained in reference to the crowds along the beach, parks or squares or even in closed spaces.

But to obtain this seal it is necessary to make a payment for the audit services and for the certificate -which for rural houses is around 600 euros-, an amount that some associations of rural house owners do not want to pay, alluding to the economic difficulties that They go through after weeks of confinement, which have prevented them from registering income.

ALTERNATIVE INITIATIVES

The Cantabria Rural Tourism Association is one of those organizations (there have also been similar initiatives in the Basque Country, Aragon and La Rioja, among others) that have preferred to create their own badge certifying their "commitment" to the security measures disseminated by government.

Its president, Jesús Blanco Oporto, has acknowledged to Efe that some owners have not wanted to process the ICTE seal for these economic reasons despite the fact that the association has provided facilities for it.

"For those who cannot or to facilitate the issue financially, we have released a logo that is a commitment to have been implemented based on a responsible declaration and a self-evaluation," said Blanco.

Likewise, the Association has organized training courses so that the owners know in depth the security measures promoted by the Executive.

With his certificate, "the image of trying to do things well according to these standards" becomes visible, "Blanco has argued, although," yes, there is no audit or external evaluation. "

He recalled that, in the midst of all this appearance of stamps, the important thing is to comply with the safety recommendations and "be serious", because, after all, "the situation requires it."

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