Open Consultation on the European Tourism Label for Quality Systems Initiative

Until 13th July 2012, an open consultation will be available on the EC website in order to have the views of public and private organisations, and individuals on a possible EU action for ensuring the quality of tourism services in Europe.

The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to assess the feasibility of a European quality tourism label, in order to create an “umbrella label complementary to national labels”. Since the end of 2010, the Commission carried out the preparatory works on the implementation of a European Tourism Quality Label (ETQ Label) with the close involvement of the public and private stakeholders, and the organisation of several workshops, a targeted consultation and an open conference on the subject.

As a result of these preparatory works and taking stock of the new competences of the EU in the area of tourism, the Commission is now proposing to further develop this initiative. The ETQ Label would have three objectives: it could serve as a management tool for tourism businesses; it could be an information tool for consumers, and it could function as a competitive instrument for Europe.

The possible future label would not abolish but would complement the existing tourism quality evaluation systems by recognising those ones which comply with the common European principles and criteria. All types of quality systems, e.g. public or private, operating at transnational, national or regional level could apply for recognition by the initiative, subject to certain eligibility criteria, being free of charge at any time.

The Commission has announced that the initiative would be adopted via a Regulation, which would be applicable on a voluntary basis. However, in order to ensure the consistent application of the quality criteria and achieve clarity and transparency, the criteria would be binding to those who decide to participate in the initiative. The criteria would be developed in the following categories: Consumer satisfaction and confidence; Provision of information; Respect of local customs, heritage; Trained/experienced employees; Service processes.

The governance of the possible initiative would be ensured by a European Board, in which all relevant tourism stakeholders would be represented. Those Member States, which have the capacity and would like to be involved more thoroughly in the initiative, would be invited to set up national governance bodies. These bodies, after they are put in place, would be delegated certain tasks, such as the preassessment, certain administrative and promotional tasks. However, the final decision on the recognitions would remain the responsibility of the European Board.

The final form of the above outlined concept, including the organisational aspects and the criteria, will be influenced by an analysis of the possible initiative and its potential impacts. As part of this analysis, the objective of this public consultation is to obtain the views of a wide circle of public and private stakeholders and individuals on the proposed action. The results of this consultation will help the Commission to assess the impacts of the proposed initiative.

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