It was 1970. The delighted cashiers on “La Móra” Supermarket were addressing, in German, to the customers in the establishment, while helping them to count the change given. “Vierundzwanzig, fünfundzwanzig,…”. They didn’t either have any Tourism degree nor had they ever entered any English school, but they were nice, and able to manage with foreigners using courtesy and deference. Their supervisors, the pork butcher Fàbregues and his wife, would serve as an example. They would spend long working hours in the shop, while keeping it packed with a variety of those typical products Germans love the most: different types of wurst, brown bread of any kind, tinned pickles and Lombardy’s, Italian mortadella, imported butter,… The thing is, those “delicatessen” were not only delicious to the campsite’s tenants, but also to the people from the Tarragona area, delightful as we were to try any exquisite product, and forget, once and for all, about that dozy kind of round cheese. In that time, Tourism became, to Tarragona, a great chance of economic prosperity and cultural opening.
It is only fair to say that some of the visitors, blinded by the Mediterranean sun, or baffled by the traitor sangria, or even over gullible on an environment they didn’t really know, would fall into property traps, and would then pay unreasonable prices for very poor services.
Many years have passed. Tourism phenomenon has gone worldwide and, on the hand, a proper attention towards foreigners is not just something that has to do with professionalism or good intention: guarantee of tourist service’s quality and good benefits level has become a strategic element in order to ensure our competitiveness.
Article 3 on 13/2002 Catalonia Tourism’s Law, June 21, assigns to the public sector the responsibility of protecting touristic users’ rights, of promoting the quality and competitiveness of these kind of services, and of safeguarding, so that free audience is conducted. With the aim to modernise tourism industry, the Law foresees bonuses that will entail quality emblems. In the bosom of the European Community, 102 Consideration, in the 2006/123/CE Directive of the European Parliament and Board, on December 12th 2006, in relation to services on the domestic market, supports processes and emblems that recognise tourist services’ quality.
In this context, last January 8th 2013, the EMO/418/2012 Order came into force, which organizes the Catalan system of tourist quality. It is a technical and legal document made available for the economy party regarding every tourist service offered in Catalonia, and also for their users. It identifies the quality of the tourist service, and authorises and standardises it on the European sphere, in order to enforce Catalonia as a tourist destination of global reference. With the use of this tool, of free acceptance, which works on the concepts of status, specialty and excellence, Economy and Business Commission expects our tourism industry to work on quality, to become competitive, and to standardise with international rules and criteria.
Today, tourist service’s quality has not just to do with a good aptitude by businessmen in charge, deserving successors of the Fàbregues from La Móra, but it is also a legal value aim of the public sector’s protection. Therefore, once the recognition of the status, specialty and excellence by the Generalitat has been achieved, the tourist establishment’s holder will be able to make use of it at his discretion, being able, at the same time, to include, in his own business’ publicity, the graphic icon that identifies it.
Isabel Baixeras Delclòs, lawyer
*Translated by Artur Santos