Published on : Tuesday, August 11, 2020
As the tourism sector is slowly opening up, the UNWTO is calling on destinations to identify and provide the best services to the travelers with disabilities or specific access requirements.
Together with the Once Foundation of Spain and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), the UN agency has recently published a set of guidelines to guarantee accessibility and inclusivity for all in the new reality.
Also, the Reopening Tourism for Travelers with Disabilities guide points out the exciting opportunities offered by the destinations that take steps to accommodate travelers who are seniors, with specific needs of persons with disabilities and the ones with specific access requirements.
The rules are a set of basic recommendations targeted at assisting the stakeholders, including accommodation providers, bars, restaurants and tourism offices; regulate the new demands in regards to health and sanitization without reducing accessibility.
The recommendations cover up four distinct areas:
• Travel planning and procedure: Steps to guarantee travelers with unspoiled travel, and making relevant information easy to get
• Transportation: Including the significance of upgrading employees, regulate the rules for passengers with disabilities/access requirements at airports and stations, along with the provision and hygienic maintenance of mobility equipment
• Accommodation, bars and restaurants: Targeting on accessibility to serve various needs of clients, guaranteeing social distancing, and improved hygiene procedures in all tourism-related establishments
• Tourist activities: Including recommendations to help destinations and attractions become accustomed with the current protocols by taking into account accessibility issues in regards to queuing, health and safety measures, and new venue capacities
To quote UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili, “Much progress has been made in making tourism more accessible to all. As we guide the responsible restart of tourism, we must make sure that this progress is not rolled back. Instead, it must be stepped up as it will benefit everyone. These guidelines, produced in collaboration with Once Foundation and ENAT show that simple, thoughtful measures can make a real difference for travelers – and in return, allow destinations to welcome this wide and diverse demographic as they look to recover from Covid-19.”
To quote Fundación Once Vice-President, Alberto Durán, “It is fundamental that we use this time of change to sensitize all stakeholders to the need to include persons with disabilities and their families in tourism, leaving no one behind. These clients can help businesses stay afloat in these challenging times, representing opportunities for all.”