Spain’s State Society for Innovation Management and Tourism Technologies (SEGITTUR) of the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism, and Fundacion ONCE (Spain’s largest disabilities NGO) have signed an agreement under which the two will collaborate on the implementation of initiatives aimed at the internationalization of accessible tourism. Their goal is to bring tourism to the 200 million people in Europe who currently miss out, i.e., people with disabilities and those who would travel with them. SEGITTUR President Antonio Lopez de Avila, and the CEO of ONCE Foundation, José Luis Martínez Donoso stressed that investing in accessible tourism creates a point of difference that will bring competitive advantage.
“Accessibility is good for everyone said the president of SEGITTUR after signing the agreement. “You have to turn it into a competitive advantage.” For his part, Martinez Donoso referred to the need to build accessible tourism. He said that accessible tourism will to not only appeal to the 4 million people with disabilities in Spain but also to the 40 million in Europe. In his opinion, “Spain could attract 20 million tourists by ensuring accessibility.”
ONCE and SEGITTUR are to cooperate in designing plans for Accessible Tourism development, advising governments in drafting legislation and standards specific to accessibility, and will provide technical assistance in the development of infrastructure projects and tourism facilities. They will also work on designing training plans for operators involved in accessible tourism, guides conducting accessible tours, accessibility validation of tourism products, and the design and development of accessible web pages. In addition, another development included in the agreement relates to the implementation of technologies for accessible tourism, development of accessible applications for smartphones, and the conducting of audits of accessibility.
For SEGITTUR’s president, this agreement will help tourist destinations achieve an optimal level of accessibility and thus visitation, and is an essential element in the development of Intelligent Tourist Destinations. Lopez de Avila stressed that accessible tourism brings advantages and benefits as it is a factor of social inclusion; it is important legally since tourism is a right; and it is important economically since this is a market segment of 200 million people in Europe alone.
Source: In Spanish here. (Please forgive any translation mistakes, above!)