On the International Day of People with Disability (3 December – a United Nations–sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being) Lonely Planet (LP) has launched an accessible travel project. LP hosts the world’s largest, most well-known, highly respected and frequented online travel community, and they want to extend that to the accessible travel community. The new project seeks to make travel possible for more people. LP believes that travel is a force for good when practised responsibly, and that travel enriches those who are touched by it either directly or indirectly. Travelling with a disability requires a lot of organisation, but information on accessibility is often hard to find. Around 50% of people with a disability would travel more if they could be sure more accessible facilities were available. With almost a billion people in the world (about 15% of the world’s population) have a physical, mental or sensory disability, and LP believes it’s important to ensure their access to travel opportunities is not limited. LP hopes to become the world’s premier provider of accessible travel information, the first port of call for all accessible travel needs, not only for those with a disability, but for anybody with access issues.
LP will give people with disabilities the platform to share their information and experiences, through their existing Thorn Tree forum, and social media channels such as Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. They know that there is no group of people better qualified to assess the accessibility of venues than those themselves affected by access issues and none more highly motivated to provide advice and recommendations for their peers. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recommendations on ‘Accessible Tourism for All’ (2013) have been approved by the General Assembly. The recommendations outline a form of tourism that will enable people with access requirements to travel independently through universally designed tourism products and services. These recommendations were developed within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A manual on ‘Accessible Tourism for All’ is set to be published in late 2013, designed to guide tourism stakeholders in how to improve the accessibility of tourism destinations, facilities and services worldwide. The development of the manual is a joint effort between UNWTO, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and two Spanish institutions, the ACS Foundation and the ONCE Foundation. As UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai says, ‘We must come to appreciate that accessible tourism does not only benefit persons with disabilities or special needs, it benefits us all.’
Source: LP press reease. For more information visit the LP website: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/travel-for-all-join-lonely-planets-accessible-travel-project Follow on Twitter: @lonelyplanet @UN_Enable @UNWTO @Fundacion_ONCE
There are some in New Zealand who recognize the importance of older people to New Zealand’s tourism industry. For example, Professor Ian Yeoman (Victoria University Wellington) noted at the recent New Zealand HAPNZ holiday parks conference that wealth and power is now in the hands of senior citizens (Inside Tourism 937/11/7/13). Yeoman also talked about the importance of extended family holidaying, saying that today, grandparents have more contact with their grandchildren than in the past. “Grandparents are extremely important to society. They are spending three times as much time with their grandchildren than grandparents did 40 years ago because they are living longer and are wealthier, and are caregivers because both parents are working”. This often means that it is grandparents who actually take their grandchildren on holiday. AA Tourism CEO Moira Penman notes that “empty nesters” tend to have more disposable income and more time up their sleeves after their children leave home and many are keen to try new experiences. “Health and fitness is also high on their radar, so activity-based holidays are attractive amongst this demographic,” said Penman. “Many tourism operators have already recognized this interest and have tailored more active holiday packages and products to this age group and we can only encourage this positive approach.” In addition, says Penman, New Zealanders in older age groups are exploring more domestic holiday destinations and 22% planned on travelling somewhere new in 2013, compared with only 15% in 2012.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand tourism industry in general still maintains disproportionate focus on the youth market. For example, Tourism New Zealand (TNZ – the official marketer of New Zealand) has had a lot of projects recently targeting youth. In fact, the youth market is one of five sector markets on the TNZ website (the others being Film and Hobbit, Business Events, Cruise Sector, and Rugby World Cup), and there is also a dedicated Youth Market team at TNZ . However, there is no such dedicated team for older visitors in spite of the fact that the most recent data available (for October 2013) shows that 46% of visitors to New Zealand where aged 45 or older. This negelect is also in spite of the fact that TNZ GM tourism operations Paul Yeo thinks the older market segment will grow. Active boomers are a “distinct segment that we believe will grow and as people remain healthy and wealthy then there will be plenty of 80 year old bungy jumpers and skydivers and it is a segment we really think and hope will continue to grow,” Yeo told the Great Adventure conference in Wellington recently. Why no dedicated team for older visitors?
Certainly, other countries have not been neglecting the older age bracket. The Australians, for example, have been aware of demographic issues affecting their tourism industry for some time. Like many Western countries, the Australian population is ageing. It is predicted that by 2050 around a quarter of the population in Australia will be over 65 years because the large Baby Boomer segment, declining fertility rates, ageing families, and increasing life expectancies. The way Baby Boomers “use their time and money when they retire will affect the domestic tourism industry and their choice to travel domestically, internationally or not to travel at all is an important consideration for the industry”, states a recent Tourism Australia report. The report goes on to describe how Gen X and Boomer Australians spent the most on tourism per capita between 2000 and 2006, and gives other analyses by age group.
And of course, when considering the older market, attention must be paid to access in tourism, travel, and hospitality, because disability increases with age. While the New Zealand pays little attention to the older visitor market, it pays almost none to the huge market of people with disabilities. Compare that to Australia, where regionally, the State of Victoria has encourages accessible tourism by issuing an Accessible Business Toolkit for tourism businesses, Queensland and New South Wales have also worked on improving tourism access, and Western Australia and other states have Access Tourism Strategies. We have none.
First Euro-Arab Accessible Tourism for All & Jordan Tourism for All Forum & Expo: السياحة يمكن الوصول إليها
The Jordan Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in collaboration with the European Network for Accessible Tourism, (ENAT), Jordan MICE and the Aqaba-Red Sea Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), have organized the first forum, exposition, and accessibility training sessions in Euro-Arab cooperation for sustainable accessible destinations (Tourism for All). The event is under the patronage of HRH Prince Ra’ad Bin Zeid, Lord Chamberlain to His Majesty the King, Chairman of the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCD) and Chairman of Forum Higher Committee. It will run 11-13 December.
The organizers invite decision makers, professionals, technicians and NGOs to attend:
- tourism industry executives, officials in government, UN, EU and Euro-Arab agencies,
- tourism and travel service providers from arrival-to-departure;
- agencies related to tourism and economic development, employability for integration of persons with disabilities;
- SMEs, training & skills development, research, education
- in/out-bound travel industry leaders
- any who need to stay ahead and understand the dynamics of the accessible tourism market, the trends, and the challenges facing the industry
- any wishing to learn how to prepare for, attract and sustain this Euro-Arab emerging and fast growing market (estimated at 203 million Euro-MENA potential tourists if access requirements met)
- any wishing to identify measures and actions that develop better, inclusive and accessible destinations for everyone in Jordan and the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) in order to increase the arrivals of international tourists with specific access requirements
The meeting also intends to
- Establish a regional Euro-Arab partnership platform for coordination and cooperation, with the purpose to exchange leading-edge policies and practices for better accessible destinations, in order to increase the market shares between the two regions.
- Declare a “Resolution/Manifesto” within the theme of “MENA-EURO RED SEA ACCESSIBLE TOURISM FOR EVERYONE “, with a focus on what each actor and stakeholder should do to enhance national, regional and universal accessibility;
- Inaugurate the MENA-ENAT REGIONAL OFFICE, hosted in AMMAN-JORDAN by Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), to act as a liaison and facilitator organization with all Euro-Arab partners, to develop an accessible tourism common regional strategy to promote universal accessibility;
- Establish the first ARAB-NETWORK FOR ACCESSIBLE TOURISM (ANAT), with the aim to promote and develop start-ups National – Networks for Accessible Tourism for All within Middle Eastern and North African Countries;
- Launch ENAT-ANAT Destinations Excellency Award, for tourist sites that best represent ’Accessible Tourism’, to give accessible tourism more visibility and that destinations all around MENA region to start following Award Winners as their example;
- Launch a regional EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT FUND INITIATIVE and a REGIONAL TRAINING HUB with the purpose to prepare the industry chain of service providers and integrate people with disabilities into TOURISM LABOUR MARKET and deliver access product offers and
- Place this event annually on the INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL & TOURISM CALENDER AGENDA under the brand name: EURO-ARAB & INTERNATIONAL ACCESSIBLE TOURISM 4 ALL FORUM & TRAVEL MARKET FAIR.
Other aims of the meeting and registration information can be found on the ENAT website.
Follow on Twitter: @VisitJordan @JITOA @EUaccesstourism
In most European cities, accessibility for all is, as of now, a legal obligation (Euronews). Berlin Germany is a leader in improving access for citizens and visitors. The German capital has been actively improving access since the 1990s, and its efforts have been recognised this year with a special European Commission prize, the Access City Award 2013. The city won for its strategic and inclusive accessibility policies, which cover all aspects of city life and are firmly embedded in both the political and budgetary frameworks of the city. Berlin’s access projects include:
- A free database (Mobidat) with 31 000 entries, giving information on the accessibility of facilities in all areas of life, including leisure, culture, health, welfare, and lifestyle. It is produced by an NGO, and an IT provider with support from the Federal State of Berlin, and has been documenting access in the city for 20 years.
- Roundtable chaired four times a year by the State and including representatives from tourism, hotels, restaurants, transport, disabilities NGOs and others. The goal is to establish a common platform to bring together information, products and services in the field of accessible travel and tourism and to ensure that Berlin positions itself both nationally and internationally as an ‘accessible city’.
- The entire Berlin bus fleet is already equipped with wide-access doors. The target for 2020 is to make the tramway and metro equally accessible.
- A short film for the Senate Department for Urban Development – Berlin accessible for all 2020 – which identifies the requirements for an accessible city
Berlin is also working with other cities to improve access. In this way, lessons learned by one city can be adapted to others. “If you put together actors from many European cities then you are much stronger,” says Barbara Berninger, urban planner for theCity of Berlin. “Making a city barrier-free and accessible for all is a question of cost, so if you make the same mistake in Marseille, London and in Berlin, it is very expensive and it is much easier to learn from each other and not to reinvent the wheel again and again.”
Follow on Twitter: @visitberlin @EU_Justice
New Zealanders love to travel and they love to give to charity. Kiwi Karma is an accommodation website that donates 3% of the total room cost to a charity of the guest’s choice. The site has been operating for over a year now and is about to expand on their proven model. Kiwi Karma features more than 3,100 listings covering a full range of accommodation from backpackers to lodges in New Zealand. As part of the booking process users nominate their preferred charity from a drop-box when they complete their reservation. Kiwi Karma is tapping into the world-wide trend of consumers actively seeking to deal with businesses that allow them to purchase in a socially responsible way.
“Kiwis were ranked fourth in global generosity in the 2011 World Giving Index and increasingly embracing products and services in a way that enables them to give back to their communities,” says Craig Crestani, who with his wife marketer Shelley (with clients in the charity sector) developed the concept. “Through Shelley I know how hard fundraising can be for charities,” Craig says. “The website was one of those three o’clock in the morning ideas. I realised I could marry my experience in accommodation with Shelley’s expertise in marketing to develop a business that would also give back to the community”. There are 20 charities involved with the site, but Kiwi Karma is working closely with the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand to extend this new fundraising initiative to others.
One of Kiwi Karma’s early adopters was Forest & Bird. Development Manager Dave Bellamy who loves the concept, “Kiwi Karma is a New Zealand company with an innovative cause related marketing model. It provides both real value for its customers with competitive accommodation rates, but importantly also provides an income stream for Forest & Bird. Their model works so well because it is frictionless. Customers don’t need to do anything additional to their normal buying practice. Simply by booking their accommodation through Kiwi Karma they are directly supporting our work to protect endangered native species.”
For more information, please contact: Craig Crestani, 021 639 035, email@example.com
Source: Press relaese
The European Commission (Director General Justice, and DG Enterprise and Industry) will celebrate the “European Day for People with Disabilities” and the “European Tourism Day” 2013 with the Joint Conference on “Accessible Tourism in Europe” on December 3 and 4, 2013 in Brussels. The aim is to raise awareness on the right of everybody to have equal access to tourism services and destinations and to present some success stories and best practices in the field. The conference is part of the EU’s wider efforts to promote the mainstreaming of disability issues in line with the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Interpretation will be provided in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Sign Language. Participation is free but registration is mandatory
Tourism is an important source of growth for the economy in Europe, representing today 1.8 million businesses and approximately 9.7 million jobs. However, travelling can still be a real challenge for some people as finding the information on services, checking luggage on a plane, booking an accessible room often prove to be difficult, costly and time consuming. On December 3rd, the conference will examine access and accessibility for tourists and residents from the users’ perspective. Examples of good practices in Accessible Tourism for All and possible solutions for the obstacles most frequently encountered will be discussed. Also on the 3rd, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Justice, will chair the Access City Award 2014 (the European Prize for making cities more accessible to people with disabilities and older people). On December 4th, the conference will cover the practical, political and economic aspects of these issues, focusing on how to overcome barriers that are limiting the potential of a more open Europe to international tourism and benefit from the tourism industry. Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Entrepreneurship and Industrial Policy, will make a presentation to conclude the event.
On Twitter: @EU_Enterprise @VivianeRedingEU @EU_Commission @EU_Justice @AntonioTajaniEU
The Philippine Government (Department of Tourism and National Council on Disability Affairs) will hold an Accessible Tourism Forum at Barangay Tawala (Pangalao Island) on November 26. This continuers the government’s thrust of promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the tourism industry and other tourism-related programs of the government. The forum will be conducted in line with Philippine statutes, such as Batas Pambansa Bilang 344 (Accessibility Law), Republic Act No. 7277, the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Relevant to this, the forum will also identify major issues related to accessible tourism and recommend policy measures that would create an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities. The construction of tourism related establishments, technical aspects, web accessibility, and universal design concepts will be discussed to highlight the importance of having an accessible and barrier-free tourism that will benefit both local and international tourists with disabilities, as well as others needing better access such as seniors and pregnant women. Participants invited to the forum include representatives from the tourism industry sector, leaders of organizations of persons with disabilities, and other entrepreneurs engaged in tourism business. (NCDA)
Follow on Twitter: @TourismPHL @PIANewsdesk
The European Consortium of Foundations on Human Rights and Disability (EFC) has launched a League of Historical and Accessible Cities (LHAC) pilot project. The Consortium was officially launched at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2009. Its main aim is to improve the accessibility of historical towns promoting at the same time sustainable tourism development and the protection of cultural heritage. The goal is to:
- improve accessibility of historical towns for people with disabilities
- raise awareness and develop projects that can serve as inspiration for other foundations and local authorities
- find innovative ways to reconcile cultural heritage protection and accessibility. This is one of the biggest accessibility challenges in Europe and an important field for the foundation sector to engage in.
The project is being simultaneously implemented by a group of foundations in countries across Europe, each of them in partnership with local authorities, disabilities groups, architects, and city planning experts of the historical town concerned. So far, Fondazione Banca Monte di Lucca is working with Lucca, Italy; Fondazione CRT with Torino, Italy; Fondation Réunica with Mulhouse, France; Realdania, Bevica Foundation, the Labour Market Holiday Fund and the Danish Disability Foundation with Viborg, Denmark; and Fundación ONCE with Avila, Spain, which has been the first-ever winner of the European Commission Award for Accessible Cities.
A pilot project is being developed in each member town, consisting of an accessible tourist itinerary. The project will produce a best practice guide showcasing each individual project. The project involves a holistic conception of accessibility, which will entail improvements in four main areas:
- The built environment and public spaces
- Transport and related infrastructures
- Information and communication, including information and communication technologies (ICT)
- Public facilities and services
For more information about the League, contact Maria Orejas, EFC Disability Interest Group Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The latest New Mobility magazine has a number of guests discussing accessible accommodations. Ashley Lyn Olson, CEO and founder of the organization Wheelchairtraveling.com writes about the good, bad, and ugly in her travels, and is upbeat even in the face of marginal accessibility. “There have been so many times where hotels are supposed to be accessible, and they generally are, but maybe they have an older building,” says Olson. Her pet peeve is bathrooms. “Some hotels say ‘you can roll into the bathroom, totally,’ but I need a roll-in shower. Of course I can roll into the bathroom. And they don’t know the difference,” writes Olson. And then there is bed height. “Sometimes I’ll use the bed sheets as a rope and climb up the bed……there’s no requirement for bed height by the ADA (Americans with xxxx) which blows my mind.” She has learned a trick that usually works when reserving an accessible hotel room. “If you need something really specific, when you make a reservation, talk to someone in housekeeping or maintenance, since they know the hotel intimately,” she suggests. Be very specific, recommends Olson. It’s not good enough to just ask if a hotel has a shower bench — you have to find out if it’s big enough, and even if it has a back.
Kleo King is senior vice president of Accessibility Services for United Spinal Association, and a member on one of the U.S. Access Board’s advisory committees. She writes that newly-disabled people may not know they have to specify that they need an accessible room with particular features, and “even those who do specify that on their reservation can have it get messed up,” Even when people know exactly what they need, they still might not get it. “Since the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, hotel reservations are supposed to be better. They’re supposed to take your request offline, if you use an Internet portal, and have that roll-in shower for you,” says King. “So if someone comes in and demands it, they’re not supposed to get that room. You reserved it, you need it. If all the rooms are booked, then they can call other hotels in the area to get a room, maybe send the customer to the other Marriott, that kind of thing.” But your room that you reserved, with all the specific accommodations you requested, ought to be there when you arrive. “The bigger chains do better with this,” says King. “There are some accessibility features the ADA is very specific about, but there are still “glaring areas that need improvement.”
Scott Rains, an international consultant on travel and universal design, and author of the Rolling Rains Report, says that the lack of consistency from hotel to hotel in how bathrooms are laid out can be odd. “Some of the bathrooms are so tiny or made so weirdly you can’t get in past the door, sinks or toilets. In an accessible bathroom that meets the standards, the height range may not be good for some people. In some people’s opinions, even ADA-standard toilets are not sufficient.” To keep accessibility in the U.S. in perspective, Rains talks about how the burning issue in Asia is to get hotels to stop putting in a 3-inch-tall, 1-inch-wide curb between the guestroom’s bedroom and bathroom.
The article concludes with a list of resources, an assessment of the most important aspects of access, lists of hotel chains that are the most accessible and most reliable when it comes to honouring a reservation for an accessible room, and notes about equipment.
Follow on Twitter at: @NewMobilityMag @WheelchairTrav @UnitedSpinal @srains
There has been tremendous growth recently in the field of Disability Studies – a field that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. The reasons, writes Cecilia Capuzzi Simon in the New York Times, are mainly demographic: as the population ages, the number of people with disabilities (PwDs) will grow. In the USA, the number of PwDs will increase by 20% between 2007 and 2030. Meanwhile, a generation of young PwDs have been raised since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, are now in college or entering the workforce, and have been educated “in the politics and realities of disability” writes Simon. Universities have long studied the disabled in medical and health care curriculums under the so-called medical model of disability, that is, disability as a deficit that needs fixing. When the first US disabilities studies programme emerged at Syracuse University in 1994, it radically departed from this model. “Like black studies, women’s studies and other liberation-movement disciplines, disability studies teaches that it is an unaccepting society that needs normalizing, not the minority group” continues Simon. Now in the US, there are 35 colleges and universities have graduate and undergraduate degrees, minors, and certificates in disabilities studies. The article goes on to outline what is on offer in this field.
Visit Flanders has won the ‘Amadeus and World Travel Market (WTM) Travel Experience Award’ for its provision in Accessible Tourism. There were two other contenders for the prize – the German National Tourist Office and the Tenerife Tourism Corporation. The judges (named here) praised the efforts that Flanders has made to become an accessible holiday destination for everyone, particularly in respect of the improvements made in the Flanders Fields area, prior to its Great War Commemoration. The judges also expect the provision of accessibility to be a necessity for every destination supplier. “Accessible travel is a growth market for the travel industry”, stated the judges. “Suppliers of the tourism industry need to cater to the needs of travellers with disabilities in a way that exceeds expectations”.
Speaking after the award, Peter De Wilde, General Administrator of Visit Flanders said “Flanders aims to be a holiday destination for everybody. Over the past 12 years, the region of Flanders has made great strides in terms of investing heavily in practical accessibility of buildings, but also by educating and offering reliable information. “ It is expected the commemoration of the Great War centenary will bring thousands of domestic and foreign visitors to Flanders Fields. Amongst this number, there will undoubtedly be many with disabilities who will benefit from an improved accessibility infrastructure in this area. With this in mind, access to a number of buildings and attractions is described in a dedicated Great War Centenary 2014-2018: Accessible for All – Flanders Fields brochure available in English and French.
“By not limiting accessibility to separate points of interest but also covering all aspects of the entire region, we are able to offer Flanders Fields as a fully accessible destination for everyone, “, said De Wilde. “If this meant adapting the trenches, we did all that was possible to make the area accessible friendly. The result of all of these efforts is now visible, even if there is of course, still room for improvement. “ de Wilde went on to say that specialist organisers of accessible travel in Flanders have been actively invited to come to see the features of accessible Flanders Fields and to “draw upon their experiences in our regions as an inspiration for other major tourist regions, such as the coast and the cities. A disability or impairment shouldn’t create a bar to travel”
USA: New air travel access rules will affect all airlines servicing the US, including Air New Zealand
A new rule issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) will affect any airline servicing the US including New Zealand’s Air New Zealand. The DOT ruling means that airlines servicing the US will need to improve access for people with disabilities or anyone else who needs it to core travel information and services on their websites and airport kiosks. The rule is part of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 and will come into effect on 12 December 2013. Airline website pages for booking and changing reservations will need to be accessible. Within two years, these pages must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA, with entire website compliance required within three years. US airlines that carry more than 10,000 passengers per year must ensure that all new automated check-in kiosks installed three or more years after the rule’s effective date meet access requirements (mediaccess.org.au). The minimum requirement is for at least 25 per cent of kiosks in each location to be accessible. These goals must be met within ten years of the rule’s effective date. The new federal regulation also requires ticket agents to provide applicable web-based fare discounts to customers with a disability who cannot use an agent’s websites. This ruling is required on or after 180 days of the regulation’s effective date of 12 December 2013.
In addition, DOT will allow airlines to choose between stowing wheelchairs in a cabin compartment on new aircraft or strapping them to a row of seats, an option that will ensure that two manual, folding wheelchairs can be transported at a time.
The 2013 European Destinations of Excellence awards (EDEN awards) recognise 19 Accessible Tourism sites that best represent Accessible tourism that promotes access for persons with special needs and the elderly. The EDEN awards are an annual initiative by the European Commission to promote emerging destinations and sustainable tourism. Based on national competitions, each competing country presented a destination that allows tourist locations to be accessed in a ‘functionally independent, righteous and dignifying manner’, writes Desmond Hinton-Beales in the Parliament magazine. Xavier Lechien, president of the EDEN network association, said that, the awards are about more than simply showing where “travellers can hike freely, enjoy new experiences and get the service according to their needs”- they are also about sending a message to policymakers. “Destination managers and policymakers will read an important message between the lines: accessible tourism must become a priority, not only for the good of the tourists, but also for the long-term business sustainability of the industry.”
Deputy director general of enterprise and industry Antti Peltomäki called for action. “One of the tourism sectors in Europe that still remains largely untapped is accessible tourism for senior citizens and people with special needs. The European Commission takes this very seriously,as equal opportunities and human rights must be a reality for all European citizens”, said Peltomäki. ”Our sincere hope is that this year’s EDEN awards will give accessible tourism more visibility and that destinations all around Europe will start following their example,” continued Peltomäki.
The EDEN award winners for 2013 are: Austria – Tiroler Oberland – Kaunertal, Belgium – Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Croatia – Stancija 1904 – Svetvincenat, Cyprus – Polis Chrysochous municipality,
Czech Rep. – Lipno, Estonia – Haapsaly city, France – Morvan regional nature park, Greece – Municipality of Marathon, Hungary – Kaposvár and the Zselic area, Ireland – Cavan town and environs, Italy – Pistoia and province, Latvia – Liepaja, Lithuania – Telsiai, Netherlands – Horsterwold, Poland – Przemysl, Romania – Jurilovca, Slovenia – Lasko, Spain – Natural park of Guara’s mountains and canyons, Turkey – Tarakli district
Carleton University with support from the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa is holding an International Summit on Accessibility in July 2014 in Ottawa. The summit will promote access and inclusion for persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. The major theme is “Making it Happen – Intention to Action” and there are three primary streams: Innovation, Technology and Accessible Communities. Each stream will address issues of accessibility in recreation and the physical environment, as well as education, communication, employment, and mobility health. There will be a special emphasis on employment. Some of the keynote speakers have been announced, the call for presentations has been made, registration and accommodation information, and the Sponsorship and Exhibits Prospectus is now available.
The theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is: “Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all”. A major focus of the Day is practical and concrete action to include disability in all aspects of development, as well as to further the participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. Activities to commemorate the Day, work to highlight progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, as well as to promote public awareness to break barriers and open doors to realize an inclusive society for all.
By 3 December 2013, the outcome document of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development (HLMDD) will also be available and may be used to provide a blueprint for action to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all. The HLMDD took place at UN Headquarters on 23 September, the day before the opening of the General Debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly. The outcome document of the HLMDD is informed by Member States and the many inputs received from organizations of persons with disabilities and other relevant stakeholders, including regional and online consultations.
Costa Rica is emerging as a leading medical and health tourism destination writes Shannon Farley. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, medical treatments in Costa Rica are cheaper than elsewhere. For example, they average 50% to 70% less than in the United States and Canada. Secondly Americans, Canadians and most Europeans do not require an entrance visa for stays shorter than 90 days. Thirdly, there are high-quality medical services in the country. Finally, Costa Rica is a very attractive tourist destination, with an established tourism infrastructure and plentiful international flights.
In 2011, 48,000 health tourists visited to Costa Rica, mostly from the United States and Canada in search of medical care in dentistry, orthopedics, plastic surgery, preventive medicine, Gynecology and Bariatric Surgery. Costa Rica is looking to boost its numbers to 100,000 medical tourists in 2014. The country hosted a national forum for health tourism, ExpoMED 2013, on October 29 2013 in San Jose, to establish standards and guidelines for international health tourism.
And Costa Rica is not alone. According to a Transparency Market Research report, the global medical tourism industry has become a $US$10.5 Billion industry based on the availability of high-quality medical services at reasonable rates in many developing countries. It is expected to reach US$32.5 Billion in 2019. One thing Costa Rica has going for it is that it is taking steps to improve tourism access for people with disabilities. Better access is definitely something visitors recovering from medical procedures will appreciate.
Amadeus and the World Travel Market (WTM) have set up new tourism awards which include one in Accessible Travel. The Best Destination for Accessible Travel has three shortlisted contenders including the German National Tourist Office (which has an accessible travel campaign and website in the UK), Tenerife Tourism Corporation (which has a new accessible tourism guide), and Visit Flanders (Tourism Flanders been working on accessible tourism for a number of years). The core judges and expert judge, Brian Seaman from Access New Business, were looking for destinations which offered disabled travelers the opportunity to take part in an accessible experience which they never would have thought possible. The core judges are Micaela Juarez, Head of Marketing and Communications, WTM, Rob Sinclair-Barnes, Director of Marketing, Amadeus UK & Ireland, Trevor Harding, President, Institute of Travel & Tourism (ITT), and Lee Hayhurst, Editor, Travolution. The winner will be announced during a ceremony on Wednesday 6 November, which will be followed by a Reception. The awards are to be presented by well-known UK TV presenter Jenny Powell, and in association with Travel Channel. Winners in each categories will be promoted extensively and will have the choice of hosting a press visit by the WTM official video crew, who will create a vlog (video blog) for use on the WTM website, social media and via WTM Official Media Partners.
Amadeus is a leading transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry. The WTM is a 35-year-old leading global business-to-business event with presentations and exhibitions for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
Follow on Twitter: @WTM_London @AmadeusITGroup @GermanyTourism @BrianMSeaman @VisitFlanders @travolution @JennyPowellTV @travel_ch_intl
The World Travel Market Responsible Tourism 2013 Programme (Twitter: @WTM_London) this year focuses on the themes of water, climate change, child protection, volunteering, and Accessible Tourism. It will run from 5-7 November in London and is a FREE event. The topics are all topics that “should matter to any company or individual who cares for their future.” Discussions will include why these topics are important, and what is being – and can be – done. On Wednesday the 6th November, the Accessible Tourism topic is “Good for Business: Taking Responsibility for People with Disabilities”. The session will be chaired by Ross Calaldine, head of Business Support, VisitEngland (@VistEngland). Speakers include Arnold Fewell, AVF Marketing (@avfmarketing); Tim Gardiner, MBE, Chair Tourism for All UK (@tourismforalluk) and the UK Department for Culture, Media, and Sport Accessible Tourism Stakeholders Forum (@DCMS); Olaf Schlieper (@olafschlieper), Innovations Manager at the German National Tourist Board (@gntb2013); Brian Seaman (@BrianMSeaman), Access New Business; Chris Veitch (@ChrisGVeitch), European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT @EUaccesstourism); and Marina Diotallevi, Programme Manager – Ethics & Social Dimensions of Tourism World Tourism Organization (UNWTO @UNWTO). The panellists will talk about what can be done to take responsibility both for welcoming and providing additional opportunities for people with disabilities.
The event follows an Accessible Tourism roundtable at the WTM Travel and Technology Show
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) based in Switzerland has produced a guide entitled Access for all: UEFA and CAFÉ good practice guide to creating an accessible stadium and matchday experience. The 115 page publication has extensive information on what makes good access at football venues, including approaching and leaving the stadium, moving around in the stadium, access to information, access in viewing areas, and amenities, and training in disabilities issues. It also discusses why good access is important, the different models of disability, equality legislation, accessibility auditing and planning.
There are more than 80 million disabled people living in the European Union alone (equivalent to the populations of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, and the Netherlands combined). The UEFA estimates that about 500,000 of these are likely to be active football spectators, a number the charity CAFÉ (Access to Football in Europe) thinks will rise considerably with improved stadium access. In addition, one in four Europeans has a family member with a disability, while 60% know someone who is disabled. This is a big fan base and a big market. In 2009, the UEFA donated its Monaco Charity Award to the National Association for Disabled Supporters (now known as the Level Playing Field) to help establish CAFÉ. CAFÉ was created to “ensure disabled supporters across the UEFA’s 53 member associations can enjoy attending football matches and to make it a problem-free and inclusive experience for all”. CAFÉ cooperated with organisations such as the European Commission Committee for Standardization (CEN) to ensure a pan-Euro approach to building standards and good practice for sports stadiums.
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Lynne Kirby from Enable Holidays will join high-profile speakers Evan Davies, BBC Radio 4 presenter, and Colin Matthews, CEO of Heathrow Airport, at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London on 6th November. The WTM has 49,000 visitors from every sector of the travel industry, who attend for exhibits, seminars and discussions. Enable Holidays was established by Kirby in 2004 and specialises in accessible holidays for people with disabilities and mobility impairments. She will speak at a session sponsored by Amadeus exploring whether the global travel industry is keeping pace with changing traveller expectations. The session chaired by Steve Endacott, Chief Executive of On Holiday Group, will focus on how travel companies can provide a superior service to match travellers with the experiences they desire – including the integration of smarter technology and examples of best practice. Kirby sees this as “an excellent opportunity to highlight the needs and desires of disabled travellers to a global audience”. The UK’s estimated 10.6 million disabled people have a combined annual spend on goods and services of up to £80 billion. Disabled travellers are a sizeable yet poorly addressed segment of the market and the industry needs to do more to meet their requirements, said Kirby. The session, entitled Amadeus Travel Insights: Connecting with the 21st-century traveller also includes panellists Simone Buckley, CEO of the Institute of Travel & Meetings, Carol Hay, Director of Marketing UK and Europe at the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and the Leisure Director at Advantage Travel Centres, Julia Lo-Bue Said.
Enable Holidays was the first UK tour operator to be accredited for its competence in auditing the accessibility and grading the suitability of accommodation abroad for people with impaired mobility. All of the 250 accessible properties available to book via Enable Holidays have been personally visited by a qualified auditor. Enable also caters for the elderly market, slow walkers and people looking for an easier way to get around and enjoy their holiday.
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