UNWTO puts forth accessibility agenda for tourism at FITUR in Madrid

 Saturday, January 28, 2023 


A seminar was organised by UNWTO, Fundación ONCE and the Spanish Association for Standardization UNE to introduce a comprehensive international standard for accessibility across the whole of the tourism sector.

During a special session on ‘Seminar on Tourism for All’, a series of tools were put forward aimed at implementing international standards which encompass the entire accessible tourism value chain.

The seminar was held at the FITUR 2023 tourism trade fair in Madrid. The three organizations were joined by representatives of tourism administrations, destinations, companies and professional industry associations.

These tools include a new user-guide focused on accommodation, food & beverage and MICE companies, launched at FITUR: UNE-ISO 21902 on Accessible Tourism. The guide will serve as a starting point for assessing their levels of accessibility, and for developing or adapting their services.

This new guide was produced in collaboration with leading civil society and industry organizations such as Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, International Circle of Hospitality Directors (CIDH), as well as the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT).

It is a follow up to the guidelines published in December, focusing on public administration.

At the seminar, Miguel Carballeda, President of the ONCE Social Group and Jose Manuel Huesa, Director of Servimedia, argued that there is no longer any excuse for any destination or leisure and tourism experience to be inaccessible to any tourist, regardless of their background or ability.

UNWTO Executive Director, Zoritsa Urosevic, added that accessibility is key to achieving SDGs. It is also key to resilience, since it brings along new customers, improving the sector’s economic performance.

Javier García Diaz, Director General of UNE and Vice-President of ISO, concluded that accessibility standards should be taken as guidance tools in carrying out improvements, instead of obligatory sets of measures.

The UNWTO is the United Nations specialized agency fostering tourism as a vehicle for equal, inclusive and sustainable development. As part of the wider UN system, UNWTO is at the forefront of global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through its ability to create decent jobs, promote equality and preserve natural and cultural heritage.

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