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Title: ISO certification in the tour operator sector
Authors: Mak, BLM 
Keywords: Tourism
ISO 9000 series
Quality assurance
Service levels
United Kingdom
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Source: International journal of contemporary hospitality management, 2011, v. 23, no. 1, p. 115-130 How to cite?
Journal: International journal of contemporary hospitality management 
Abstract: Purpose - The objectives of this study are to find out why tour operators implement quality assurance, and what problems and challenges they face in doing so. Design/methodology/approach - This study utilized a multiple-case study approach, interviewing the senior managers of three accredited tour operators using formally structured questions. Findings - The purposes for which the tour operators attained ISO 9000 certification were image building, promotion and advertising; to rectify the varying standards amongst different departments; to build an understanding of the operations; to review the operation procedures and system, and the management of the tour operators; as well as to legitimize the senior management's action to make changes. A number of negative aspects to the ISO 9000 certification were found, including the high cost of implementation, lukewarm reception by staff, reduced effectiveness over time and that consistency of procedures did not equate to good or improving quality. Research limitations/implications - As the current research used a very small sample, only limited generalizations can be made. Practical implications - Tour operation is a service-based business in which it is difficult to standardize service quality but, where an attempt is made, there does seem to be a significant reduction in human error. Originality/value - A body of literature exists in which arguments for and against the use and practices of the ISO 9000 certification in different sectors are presented, but the tour operator industry is neglected. This paper examined the value of quality assurance certification in the tour operators sector to fill the void.
ISSN: 0959-6119
EISSN: 1757-1049
DOI: 10.1108/09596111111101706
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