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Italy: Manifesto for the Promotion of Accessible Tourism.

This is a significant document to further the true culture of Inclusive Tourism as stated by the Chairman of the Italian Agency for Tourism (ENIT), Matteo Marzotto: "Accessibility means lack of architectural, cultural and sensory barriers - a fundamental condition to allow the holiday's full effect - and it relates to people with particular needs, not only regarding movement but also chronic health issues (people with food and environment allergies, the blind, the deaf or mentally disabled people, small children and the elderly, etc.). The involvement of all these visitors and their families in tourism has a great numerical as well as psychological, impact".

Inclusive tourism has to move beyond an accessibility rights issue and this document recognises that cultural change within the tourism industry is as, if not more important, than the physical infrastructure. True Inclusive Tourism will rely on the industry accepting people with a disability as true customers and the development of products and services that meet their varying needs for a true holiday experience.

Manifesto text

Manifesto for the Promotion of Accessible Tourism
Putting into effect art. 30 of UN Convention concerning disabled people
rights ratified by Law n.18 of 24/2/09

1. People in the most complete meaning of the term, with their specific needs resulting from personal and health conditions (for example: motor, sensory, intellectual disabilities, food intolerances, etc.), are citizens and customers who have the right to autonomously make good use of all the tourist services on offer, being supplied with suitable services with a just quality/price ratio.

2. Accessibility involves the whole tourist service chain, both at national and local level, starting with:

a. Transport network;
b. Accommodation capacity;
c. Restaurants and caf├ęs;
d. Culture, leisure and sports.

3. Location accessibility shall not be the decisive factor when planning holidays: it should be possible to choose a destination or a tourist facility because it is where we want to go and not because it is the only accessible one.

4. It is necessary to think of accessibility as access to life experiences, that is overcoming the concept of "standard", enhancing the value of the person/customer, who has specific needs.

5. Information about accessibility cannot be reduced to a mere symbol, but has to be objective, detailed and guaranteed, to allow each person to certainly evaluate by himself which tourist facilities and services are able to meet his specific needs.

6. It is necessary to promote positive communication, avoiding the use of discriminating words. It has to be distributed in formats that everybody can use, and through all tourist information and promotion channels.

7. As accessibility does not concern only structural and infrastructural aspects, but also the services offered to tourists, it is necessary to promote quality reception for everybody, that is to encourage a cultural change, that can result in changes in organization and management models, even before structural ones.

8. It is necessary to encourage skill and professional training, based on Universal Design principles and involving the whole tourist and technical professional profile chain: managers, employees, companies, public and private enterprises. It is also necessary to update curricula in all Schools for Tourism, Technical Schools, Universities, Masters and Academic Centres of all grades.

9. Local Authorities, according to their competences and functions, shall implement the accessibility of towns, public buildings and local transports, and shall also plan periodical control and promotion operations for tourist offers for everyone.

10. In order to implement and promote accessible tourism in a system logic, proactive collaboration among tourist Operators, Local Authorities, Public Bodies, disabled people Associations and social tourism Organizations is encouraged.

Download the Manifesto as a pdf

Read our article on the Economic Model of Inclusive Tourism