A safety audit was conducted in collaboration with “Management Mix” Consulting Company in five Armenian tour companies within the frame of the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” (ITTD) project, after which the companies were granted an internationally recognized TÜV certificate.
The EU4Bussines ITTD project is co-financed by the EU and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ.
Photo: Yell Extreme Park
The companies selected in Armenia are representing the adventure/active/outdoor tourism sector, offering ziplines, rope-park, kayaking, motorcycling, sport camps etc.
The TÜV Certificate confirms that the adventure experiences offered comply with all the safety standards, both for tourists as well as the staff members. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, HP are undergoing TÜV safety testing.
“We strongly believe that this certification will have а positive impact on the image of these companies and more tourists from all over the world will visit Armenia,” said Frank Hess, the Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Armenia during the ceremony of awarding certificates.
He mentioned also that having a safety certificate issued by an internationally recognized company might become one of the competitive advantages of the companies involved in the project.
“This is fully consistent with the objectives of the EU4Bussines Initiative. So, I wish success and good luck in all your endeavours”.
Head of the Tourism Committee Sisian Boghossian mentioned that TÜV certification is an important achievement not only for the five stakeholder companies, but also for the Armenian tourism industry.
“There is much discussion on health, safety and security issues nowadays. This applies also to the tourism industry. The internationally recognized certificates proving the compliance with safety and quality standards will contribute to Armenia’s competitiveness in the market”.
Sisian Boghossian noted that adventure tourism is going to be one of the target areas for development of tourism industry in Armenia, and thanked GIZ for continued support.
“Adventure tourism shall be safe. It shall be a leisure time activity without any accidents”, says the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” (ITTD) project team leader Wilhelm Hugo.
According to him, TÜV certification is a very important quality mark for the European tourists:
“We will attract more tourists through safer environment, so we expect increase in the number of tourists visiting Armenia in the summer of 2022. I am also looking forward to enjoying the offered entertainments with my team and family”.
Project Coordinator from “Management Mix” Armen Mosiyan presented how the safety audit was conducted in the companies and the main phases they had to undergo.
“The audit in the companies was conducted in compliance with ISO 45 001 “Occupational health and safety management systems” standards. This gave us an opportunity to identify the existing gaps and the ways of filling them in. Afterwards, an individual action plan for each company was developed”.
Armen Mosiyan noted, that the stakeholder companies had been previously providing a safe environment as well, both for the team and the tourists and they had their safety culture established, however the rules were not systemized.
Country Director of the German Certification Company TÜV Rheinland, Marc Zeinoun mentioned that the current year marks the 150th anniversary of the Company.
“Currently, all the vehicles made in Germany undergo our testing in Germany. The new vehicle prototypes’ safety testing is carried out by TÜV. We work with clients such as BMW, Volgswagen, SIEMENS, HP and other large companies. You can find the triangle-shaped TÜV certification mark on number of products all over the world, which shows that we are coordinating the interaction between the three parties, i.e. people, technologies and environment”.
Marc Zeinoun used а highly popular example of TÜV certification in the filed of tourism.
“This will interest mostly the football fans. We have issued service quality control certificates for FC Bayern München and “Allianz” Arena stadium”.
The company has been present in Armenia since 2004, and it is cooperating with organizations from different fields.
“Electric Networks of Armenia is one of our major clients, and it is certified by TÜV”.
Raffy Semerdjian, CEO at “Management Mix” Consulting Company, which implemented the certification project for the five Armenian tour companies, said that these companies were going to be audited every year to control security and quality of services provided.
“The Certificates are granted for a three-year period but they will remain valid only if you successfully pass the annual audit. My congratulations to you, since you are the first TÜV certified travel companies in Armenia”.
One of the tourism experiences certified within the frame of the project is the Yell Extreme Park, the founder of which who is also the Director of “Apaga Projects” Tigran Chibukhchyan, mentioned that people generally have difficulty in trusting.
“No matter how hard we try to assure that the services we offer are safe, internationally recognized verification is necessary. I am very proud of my team, since the standards that we have been working with so far were largely compatible with ISO 45 001 standards. Lot of work had been done and only some minor changes were made after the audit. In general, we used to and we are still meeting the safety standards, now having an additional certification from an international institution”.
The founder of “Our Mountains” Camp Edgar Navasardyan also emphasized the importance of such certification for winning the trust and confidence of people. The Camp is in the village of Gosh and safety is a key priority here as well.
“This is of course important, both for local, as well as foreign tourists. Safety is a top priority, and it does not matter whether you are a local tourist or a foreigner. However, I think that, the TÜV certificate will be more important for the European tourists, who know the company very well and will consider the certification as a serious indicator of quality”, said Edgar Navasardyan
It is expected that the TÜV certification of the tour companies in Armenia will be continued.
Photos: Emin Aristakesyan