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UNWTO reminds destinations to make tourism accessible to all

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 09 Aug 2020, 07:59 am Print

UNWTO reminds destinations to make tourism accessible to all

Madrid: As tourism restarts across the globe, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has come out with a timely reminder which urges destinations to recognize the needs of travellers with disabilities or specific access requirements.

According to the latest data from UNWTO, 40 percent of global destinations have now eased restrictions on travel introduced to contain the spread of COVID0-19.

UNWTO has therefore joined disabled people’s organizations and others to design a basic set of recommendations aimed at maintaining the ethos of “Accessible Tourism for All” in the new normal stage. 

In collaboration with the ONCE Foundation of Spain and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), UNWTO has released a new guideline – Reopening Tourism for Travellers with Disabilities: How to Provide Safety Without Imposing Unnecessary Obstacles – to ensure accessibility and inclusivity as part of responsible restart of tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “These guidelines, produced in collaboration with ONCE Foundation and ENAT show that simple, thoughtful measures can make a real difference for travellers – and in return, allow destinations to welcome this wide and diverse demographic as they look to recover from COVID-19.”

The guidelines are a set of basic recommendations aimed at helping stakeholders, including accommodation providers, bars, restaurants and tourism offices, adjust to new health and sanitary demands without reducing accessibility.

The recommendations cover four distinct areas --

Travel Planning and Protocols: Including steps to guarantee seamless travel, and for making relevant information available and accessible to all

Transportation: Including the importance of upskilling employees, adjusting protocols for passengers with disabilities/access requirements at airports and stations, as well as the provision and hygienic upkeep of mobility equipment

Accommodation, Bars and Restaurants: Focusing on accessibility to cater for different needs of clients, guaranteeing social distancing, and enhanced hygiene procedures in all tourism-related establishments

Tourist Activities: Including recommendations to help destinations and attractions adapt existing protocols by taking into account accessibility issues related to queuing, health and safety measures, and new venue capacities.

Fundación ONCE Vice-President, Alberto Durán, said, “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.”

ENAT President, Anna Grazia Laura said, “These practical guidelines for curbing the spread of COVID-19, with due regard for accessibility and inclusion within tourism, can contribute to global efforts to reassure all visitors, benefitting tourists, businesses and destinations alike.”

For the Guideline, click here