FEG ExCo President, FEG & WFTGA Accredited Tourist Guide Trainer
An important press release landed on our FEG mailbox a few days ago from the European Standardization Committee (CEN) and the Croatian Standards Institute (HZN). Croatia is holding for the first time the EU Presidency during the first half of 2020.
The press release in not only important for us in FEG, as trained and qualified tourist guides, but also to all standardized services and products offered to consumers in the European countries. The European Standards do not only cover the 28 EU member-states. The CEN current members include also the countries of the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, plus three countries of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), so 34 European countries in total.
During the next six months, the aim of Croatia is foster the EU’s unity and consensus, ensuring that the EU is fit to meet the many challenges the continent is facing. Under the motto “A strong Europe in a world of challenges”, Croatia has identified four pillars structuring the priorities of its Presidency:
These priorities are also at the heart of the CEN and CENELEC Declaration “Standards Build Trust”. The Declaration underlines how standards can help make Europe a competitive, smarter and more sustainable economy for the benefit of all its citizens. Standards contribute to a stronger, smarter, more sustainable Europe and its 500 million citizens:
The Declaration promotes a forward-looking approach bringing together digital, competition, industrial and trade policy, and ensuring that innovation is fostered. The European Standardization System (ESS), based on consensus, inclusiveness and on national members, offers really powerful tools to support Europe in meeting current and future challenges. One unified system instead of 34 national conflicting standards, ensures equal levels of safety, security and sustainability.
CEN, CENELEC and their National Members recognise the need to strengthen common efforts to ensure rapid and cost-efficient standardization solutions for all stakeholders. “The European Standardization System, based on a voluntary and inclusive approach, has already shown its strength in supporting the EU’s policy making efforts”, commented Elena Santiago Cid, CEN and CENELEC Director General. ”The standardization community is ready to cooperate, in the full spirit of the New Legislative Framework: CEN and CENELEC, together with HZN, look forward to engaging with the Croatian Presidency to help Europe deliver on its promise”.
What does the above have to do with tourist guides?
FEG has always been concerned with the misinterpretation of the terminology of different professions in the tourism industry and the confusion this causes to the industry and to visitors/consumers alike. To address this FEG was part of the CEN working group, which finalised with consensus and voted the European Standard EN13809:2003 on “Tourism Services – Travel Agencies and Tour Operators Terminology”
According to par. 2.3.5 of the EN13809:2003 Standard:
“Tourist guide is a person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area, which person normally possesses an area-specific qualification usually issued and/or recognised by the appropriate authority“
FEG continues to strive for transparency and efficiency, especially in guiding services and guide training. To that extent, and together with many other European tourism and training stakeholders, FEG has sought a common approach on tourist guides’ professional vocational training.
FEG sees its participation in CEN working groups as essential. We were able to participate in another CEN working group from 2005 to 2008. The aim was to help the tourism and training industry; to protect cultural and natural heritage; and to assist consumers’ understanding of what they can expect of a professional tourist guide.
Our common work over 3 years resulted in consensus and was voted as European Standard EN15565:2008 in the “Minimum provision of training for tourist guides in Europe. ”
Since then, FEG has been promoting through its member-associations across Europe, the need for adoption of both European Standards concerning tourist guides. It is essential for the tourism state authorities, training organisations and member-associations to offer tourist guide training which is compliant with the EN15565:2008 Standard.
Adhering to standards is a matter of building trust and transparency.
Don’t be lead astray!