26 November 2018. Spanish museums have become an important focal point and tourist attraction for the entire industry. Visitor numbers have continued to grow over the last decade and have beaten new records every year. In 2017 alone, visitor numbers grew by around 5%. In this context, it has become increasingly clear that there is a need to ensure that quality standards for museums and visitors are upheld. Standards are a critical part of both a museum's development as an organisation and the service it provides to society. They also help to boost the reputation of the country in which the museum is located.
Aware of this fact, and over the course of more than one year, the Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality (ICTE) has helped to establish Standard UNE 302002:2018 “Museums. Requirements for the visit service provision" as part of a work group led by the Ministry for Culture and Sport's General Sub-directorate for State Museums, as a member of Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE).
This standard has been developed with the participation of all interested parties and is the result of a consensus. It has been developed by the CTN 302/GT 2 Museums and museum collections work group, which involved Spain's main museums, including the Prado National Museum, Reina Sofía National Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Lázaro Galdiano Museum, Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, MACBA, Picasso Museum in Catalonia, Valencia City of Arts and Sciences, Museum of Human Evolution, Spain's National Library, MUSAC, MUBBLA, Lorca Medieval Museum, Pagos del Rey Wine Museum and the Esteban Vicente Contemporary Art Museum Consortium. In total, more than 40 institutions were involved in the work group. These included related professional associations, leading museum industry agencies, local authorities and social organisations.
The standard was published last September by Spain's standardisation agency (UNE) and was introduced this morning in Madrid. The event took place at the Sorolla Museum and was attended by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Oliver, the General Director of Fine Arts, Román Fernández-Baca, the President of the ICTE Miguel Mirones and the General Director of the UNE, Javier García.
This is a very important standard that provides certification under the Q Mark for Tourism Quality and sets out the requirements that museums and related institutions provided for in industry legislation (collections, museum collections, museum exhibitions and visitor centres) must comply with when they provide visitor services and additional activities in order to protect, facilitate and enrich the visitor's experience.
The Standard is promoted by the Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality. The ICTE's President Miguel Mirones emphasised that this is an essential standard, as it represents a "strategic alliance between the culture and tourism industries in pursuit of tourism quality that will enable Spanish museums to proudly display the Q Mark for Tourism Quality, which is the Spanish state's heritage symbol and is managed by the Institute".
The UNE's General Director, Javier García, also confirmed that the "UNE 302002 standard is the result of the coming together of the culture and tourism worlds to make a clear commitment to quality. The standard was developed with the participation of experts from all interested parties under the principles of openness, transparency and consensus, accompanied by the ICTE, which is the UNE Corporate Member that represents the industry, and with the key involvement of the General Directorate for Fine Arts".
The General Director of Fine Arts, Román Fernández-Baca, said that he was pleased that the Q Mark for Tourism Quality has been introduced into Spain's cultural industry by museums (both state-owned and private institutions) and gave his assurance that these organisations will continue to work in this way. He also acknowledged the work performed by the more than 40 entities on the Standardisation Committee, which developed the standard within the UNE, led by the ICTE.
Finally, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Oliver, thanked the Institute for supporting the work that went into developing the Standard, saying that "quality is a vital component to help the tourism sector be competitive", and that cultural heritage is an essential component of the Spanish tourism industry. In this respect, the standard ensures that "quality is a differentiating factor that provides added value and continuous improvement". In words of the Secretary of State, "It enables us to guarantee excellence, credibility and rigour, which is why it is important to "associate Brand Spain with the ICTE's Q symbol for Tourism Quality".
The standard contains three sections. The first section covers the obligations of museum management bodies as regards quality management systems. It includes elements such as setting targets, managing human resources and commitment to continuous improvement.
The second section refers to service provision and includes requirements and recommendations about accessibility, information and communication, visitor support services, booking and selling tickets, visits and visitor loyalty schemes. For example, the museum must ensure that information is clear, understandable and positioned in a consistent way so that visitors can adequately find their location and obtain information.
The third section is concerned with managing the facilities and equipment. It includes elements such as signs and safety, exhibition spaces, toilets, commercial areas and parking.