In 1998, the Technical Committee for Standardisation of Tourism Services (STK 29) was established with the main task of developing and adjusting national standards for tourism services with a view to improving their quality. STK 29 is composed of 9 permanent members – specialists in the field of tourist accommodation, as well as representatives of the state institutions responsible for the tourism, construction and health sectors (Tourism Division of the Ministry of Economy and the State Agency for Tourism Development, the Department for Structural Quality Policy and Internal Market, the Department for Construction and Housing Policy, the Ministry of Health, and a coordinator from the Standardisation, Accreditation and Metrology Centre Ltd.). The Chairman of STK 29 is Mr. Aivars Kalniņš.
In the period since 1999, STK 29 has developed and registered seven standards from the set of standards LVS 200, which regulate the development of a voluntary conformity assessment and classification system for tourist services. LVS 200-1-3 for hotels, including resort hotels, guest houses and motels was developed in 1999, LVS-4-6 for rural tourist houses, camping sites and youth hostels in 2000. Thus, Latvian standards have been developed for practically all types of tourist accommodation in Latvia. In 2001, LVS 200-7 “Tourist information providers”, including tourist information centres, was developed.
In 2004, the standards for hotels, guest houses and motels were revised and in September 2009 the new hotel standard LVS 200-1:2009 was registered in the Latvian Standard. The motel standard LVS 200-3+A1:2004 became invalid. Henceforth, the conformity assessment of motels was carried out in accordance with the hotel standard LVS-200-1:2009.
The standards divide the requirements for hotels, which must have at least 4 rooms, into 5 categories, which are marked with stars, from 1 to 5, with increasing levels of design and service. Guest houses are assigned categories 1 to 4 in accordance with the standards, denoted by Roman numerals. Campsites and youth hostels are graded from 1 to 3, which are also designated by Roman numerals.
As the number or category of stars, hotels and other tourist accommodations increases, so does the range and level of services, as well as the professional and language skills of the staff. E.g. five-star hotels should have several conference rooms, restaurants, and an extensive block of rooms for relaxation and body care.
You can get acquainted with the standards at the LVS office in Riga, K.Valdemāra iela 157, by appointment, or at the National Library of Latvia. Standards can be purchased by registering on the LVS website www.lvs.lv. For enquiries: +371 27880050, e-mail: [email protected]
In connection with LVRA joining the unified European hotel classification system HOTREC under the supervision of Hotelstars Union, since 1 July 2011 SIA “Hotel and Restaurant Centre” (VRC) has been certifying Latvian hotels according to the international criteria of Hotelstars Union. In 2012, the criteria were switched to a new scoring system, which is more objective and therefore more objective, and Latvian certified hotels have gained a much wider recognition in Europe and worldwide (see Hotelstars Union section for criteria). The revised Hotelstars Union criteria for 2015 – 2020 enter into force on 1 January 2015.