This 15th edition of the UNWTO Awards was also notable as it marked the launch of the Accessible Tourism Destinations (ATD) initiative. Organized by UNWTO in partnership with the Spanish NGO ONCE, this initiative recognizes destinations that are proactively working to make tourism more accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or mental ability.
Turismo Portugal was awarded the first international distinction of Accessible Tourism Destination (ATD2019), launched by UNWTO and the ONCE Foundation to recognize those destinations that are making laudable efforts so that they can be enjoyed by all tourists, regardless of their physical, sensory or cognitive abilities. In the last decade, Portugal has made outstanding efforts to make its tourism infrastructure, services and products more accessible nation-wide.
Destino Barcelona (Spain) was conferred a special mention as an exceptional urban tourism destination, while the city of Thrissur in Kerala (India) received a special mention as an emerging destination on the global accessible tourism market. The Expert Committee, gathering some of the most acknowledged international experts in universal accessibility in tourism and Design for All, included representatives of destinations, consumers, travel and tourism industries, Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and international bodies.