urismAs EBI informed in an article in its March newsletter, last month the Commission issued a Communication titled “A common path to safe and sustained re-opening”, which spells out a number of recommendations for Member States to adopt a coordinated approach to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, such as the adoption of a Digital Green Certificate.
One of the measures listed in the Communication is the rollout of an EU tourism health seal, which businesses will be able to display in order to show that they are complying with health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is intended to build confidence among consumers for the restart of tourism. The International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) has developed a specification for the seal, which covers a variety of business activities, including “yacht harbours and nautical activities”. This specification will now be taken up by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) by mid-May. EBI has been closely involved in the preparations for the tourism health seal with both ISO and CEN, representing the interests of marinas, charter companies and other boating industry businesses. A key point in EBI’s contributions was the need to keep the seal cost-efficient and easy to implement for large companies and SMEs.
Moreover, EBI has reached out to the Commission with several questions about the tourism health seal. According to the Commission, it is expected that most Member States will implement the seal. In principle, the seal would be used on the basis of self-certification (that is, business can certify themselves without third-party assessment), although surveillance might be put in place at a later stage, under the initiative of each Member State. Member States which have in place national seals (equivalent to the proposed EU seal) can apply the certification and surveillance system used for those on the new EU seal. In addition, Member States can give the EU seal to companies that already had a national seal, if such a national scheme is deemed adequate and comparable. Finally, the seal would cost between 100 and 200 €, although the Commission is looking at ways of providing funding and is calling on Member States to reduce that fee, suggesting the possibility that Member States offer the seal for free.