The Opening of the First Accessible Wharf for Gondolas

Venice, March 2016 the opening of the first accessible wharf for gondolas in Venice, in front of Piazzale Roma, Fondamenta Cossetti. 

This project created by the non- profit organization Gondolas4ALL, represents the first landing place able to allow people with different kinds of disabilities to get on and off a gondola. 

Enrico Greifenberg and Alessandro Dalla Pietà, the two founders of this association, have been dreaming of this project for more than 20 years. In 2012, they decided to apply themselves to the realization of a permanent structure, in order to allow anybody to enjoy an exciting gondola tour. 

The Tourism Department of Veneto Region decided to support their project into the Project of Excellence in Tourism “ Development of Social and Accessible Tourism”. 

After being guest at the stand of Veneto Region at the event Gitando.all in 2014 and at MOVE in 2015, Gondolas4ALL, as the only and exclusive subject of this initiative, has received funding aimed to cover in part the realization costs. 

Fabio and Nicola Domeneghini of Fadiel Italiana & SMDM, Roberto DeCarli of Rein, Lucart Group, Pierluigi Moro and Silvia Dabrilli of Studio Moro Architetti, supporters of this project since the beginning, have completed the work.

 Marco Maggia, owner of Ermitage Bel Air Medical Hotel and the city of Abano Terme supported the project with a contribution.

In 2015, Honorable Domenico Rossi Secretary of State to the Defense, invited Gondolas4all to Rome giving them the support of the Ministry of Defense. 

In September 2015 in Madrid, invited by Fundacion Once, they presented Gondolas4ALL at the 5th International Congress “Technology and Tourism For All”. 

In the same period, Gondolas4ALL filmed in Venice “Smart Aarhus in Documentary on Sustainable Cities”, a documentary about the best practices in 24 European Cities, selected by Kryzistof Baczynski Europe commission Architecture,Urban Plannig Engineering. 

The new service will begin in about a month after the training of new professionals and final tests .

The project is seeking public support to raise about 80,000 ( eighty thousand ) Euros . 

You can support Gondolas4all through the following link

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VisitEngland launches Access for All campaign

VisitEngland, the national tourist board, is today launching a new Access for All campaign, aimed to raise awareness of accessible destinations and businesses in England, informing disabled people of accommodation and visitor attractions when planning a day trip or holiday.

Following a successful pilot project in 2013/14 with four destinations; VisitEngland accessed funding from the European Commission to expand the Access for All initiative, with a grant of €125,000. For the past year VisitEngland has been working with seven local destination partners across the country to create a series of access guides covering coastal, countryside and city destinations. These are:

  • Visit Kent
  • Marketing Birmingham
  • Visit Lincoln
  • Northumberland Tourism
  • Visit Peak District and Derbyshire
  • Experience Nottinghamshire
  • Visit Brighton

56 businesses are involved in the project including a mix of accommodation and attractions such as Lincoln Cathedral, Brighton & Hove Buses, Chatsworth House, Turner Contemporary, Hotel La Tour, Vindolanda Roman Fort and Nottingham Belfry amongst many others. The businesses involved have worked hard to make changes – focusing on positive action – to improve perceptions of Accessible England.

VisitEngland research highlights that the overnight accessible tourism market is now worth £3billion to the English economy, with day visits bringing the figure up to £12.1 billion. Over the past few years overnight trips by disabled travellers and their companions have increased by 19 per cent with spend up by 33 per cent. 

The Purple Pound presents tourism businesses and destinations with a huge opportunity for economic growth. New figures from VisitEngland confirm an approximate value of overnight accessible tourism to the destinations involved:

  • Kent: £60m
  • Birmingham: £50m
  • Lincoln: £9m
  • Northumberland: £65m
  • Derbyshire: £45m
  • Nottinghamshire: £30m
  • Brighton and Hove: £14m

Some of the great initiatives include those introduced by Brighton & Hove Buses (part of the Go-Ahead group) which provides wheelchair access to 100 per cent of their fleet. They are trialling the use of hearing loop systems on a bus; have a Helping Hand yellow card scheme; offer a wheelchair taxi guarantee if someone cannot get onto the bus and have many innovations to help disabled visitors use their buses.

VisitEngland Chief Executive, James Berresford, said: 

"The accessible tourism market is worth a sizable £12.1 billion to the English economy and many tourism businesses are realising that catering for disabled customers is not only a necessity but a wise investment that brings a host of business benefits. Many of the changes businesses make may be small, but combined contribute significantly to the visitor experience." 


The Access for All project has consisted of two phases: product development, where businesses receive direct support to improve their accessibility with the help of access advisors, and a national consumer marketing campaign launching today. The tourism businesses are being directly supported as part of the project to improve their accessibility. Accommodation and attractions have been audited by a professional access advisor and many have received a mystery visit from guests with accessibility requirements. A training course was held in each destination for accessibility champions and customer-facing staff have completed online disability awareness training. Businesses also received personal feedback on their Access Statement, improving information detailing their accessibility.

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