Top 5: Standards for safety in travel and tourism

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Por Clare Naden
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Safety and security are vital to the enjoyment of any holiday or travel adventure. So, it’s reassuring to know that thousands of ISO standards are working behind the scenes to prevent you from becoming a statistic. 

Including everything from ensuring trains, planes and automobiles take you places without a hitch, to providing minimum safety requirements for the food you eat and the adventures you embark on, here’s a look at the top five.

1. Safety on your plate

Fugu fish in a fisherman's hand.One of the highlights of travel and tourism is eating local cuisine, but it is not without its dangers. While you might be able to avoid eating fugu1), a fish that can bring on progressive paralysis and kill you within a few hours, you may not be aware of hidden germs lurking on your plate due to poor hygiene practices. Considering that an estimated 600 million people get sick from eating contaminated food each year2), it pays to eat in reputable establishments. 

By favouring suppliers who use ISO 22000, Food safety management  Requirements for any organization in the food chain, however, you can have your cake and eat it too. This standard ensures that organizations are providing products that are safe to eat as intended and comply with any food safety regulations.

2. Venture forth in safety

Hiker and his dog standing on a mountain, looking at the top.Looking for some thrills and spills on your next trip? Adventure tourism is booming, and so are the safety regulations that go with it.

ISO 21101, Adventure tourism — Safety management systems — Requirements, gives adventure tourism activity providers a way to put in place a safety management system, ensuring participants have a great experience, and survive to tell the tale.

The standard enables the adventure tourism operator to improve their safety performance, meet expectations for participant and staff safety, and support compliance with applicable legal requirements.

3. Safe summer-tobogganing

Boy going downhill at summer toboggan run - stock photoTobogganing is fun, family-friendly, and a great way to get your thrills in summer. One of the longest, in Switzerland, is 15 km long, and just to get to the start takes a 25-minute cable-car ride and a two-hour hike uphill. Shorter rides are found the world over, including a three-minute descent on the Great Wall of China3). Wherever you toboggan, safety is paramount.

ISO 19202, Summer toboggan runs — Part 1: Safety requirements and test methods, and Part 2: Safety requirements for operation, provide safety requirements for the design, build and operation of toboggans, covering everything from the planning of the tracks to signage, repair and maintenance.

4. All at sea: keeping safe in the water

Personal flotation devices hang to dry on a line on pier.When getting overboard is more likely, or even the objective, such as for water sports or boating trips, it’s important to have quality lifejackets that keep you afloat and work as intended.

The ISO 12402 series of standards, Personal flotation devices (several parts) serves as an internationally agreed guide to manufacturers, purchasers and users of flotation devices to ensure the equipment works effectively. It outlines the safety requirements and test methods of lifejackets, buoyancy aids and accessories to protect a user from drowning.

5. All onboard: cruising to safety

Flight of stairs descending towards guard rail of cruise ship with gull perched on top and ocean visible in background.Around 30 million holidaymakers are expected to go on a cruising holiday this year, and the industry is growing, with more ships, destinations and themes every year4). The safety of these ships is rarely put into question, and falling overboard is rare, yet it still happened to 18 unlucky passengers in 20185).

ISO/PAS 21195Ships and marine technology  Systems for the detection of persons while going overboard from ships (Man overboard detection), provides internationally agreed technical specifications for systems designed to detect a person who has gone overboard from a passenger ship, so they can be quickly located and brought back onboard.

Looking for more travel titbits? You’re in luck! If you are prone to catching the travel bug, and your feet itch to discover new places, follow Cath’s journey on social media as she travels around the world looking for tourism standards from 10 July to 9 August.

For those who care about our impact on the planet, who want to experience new thrills with no compromise on safety, and think that travel should be accessible to all, you’ll find the hottest standards and stories from our members around the world. 

1) Sciences et Avenir, Les 7 plats les plus dangereux du monde

2) World Health Organization Factsheet: Food safety

3) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Kids: The coolest things about toboggans, accessed 2009-08-05

4) Cruise Lines International Association, 2019 Cruise Trends and Industry Outlook [PDF] 

5) Cruise Lines International Association, Report on Operational Incidents 2009-2018


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