Catalonia, Recognised for its Work Advocating Accessible Tourism
07/11/2014 | 0 comments
Catalonia has been recognised at London’s World Travel Market for its work advocating accessible tourism and has garnered First Prize in Europe’s CHARTS awards for its work fostering cultural and sustainable tourism. “The Way of Saint James for All” initiative was chosen from amongst 27 candidates from all over Europe as a benchmark of excellence and good practices in the field of cultural and sustainable tourism.
London’s World Travel Market
Within the framework of the WTM, the spearheads behind the initiative “Responsible Tourism Day” awarded the WRTD (World Responsible Tourism Day) certification to senior managers of the Catalan Tourism Board (ACT). This credential certifies Catalonia’s work in implementing and promoting accessible tourism.
For the past five years, the WTM has granted the WRTD brand to distinguish those bodies and companies that undertake some form of activity focussed on driving and fostering responsible tourism.
The Catalan Tourist Board is promoting the holistic project “Accessible Tourism – Tourism for All” in Catalonia, whereby it adheres to the commitment of the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, in which facilitating access for people with disabilities is one of the characteristics of responsible tourism.
The Director-General for Tourism, Marian Muro, affirmed that “for Catalonia, the fact that the organisers of the World Travel Market – WRTD chose our model of implementation and promotion of accessible tourism as an example of good practices encourages us to forge ahead with a project that guarantees a fundamental social right. At the same time, with this commitment to accessible tourism, we are giving impetus to a means of differentiation and competitiveness that may help transform the tourism sector and boost its profitability through social responsibility policies”.
Catalonia has selected 26 tourist destinations for their high levels of accessibility that offer tourists with disabilities a whole host of services adapted to their needs. In the last five years, Catalonia has gone from having 600 resources and adapted tourist services to boasting more than 1,200 resources, some of which are unique in Spain.
First Prize in Europe’s CHARTS 2014 awards
The Government of Catalonia has received First Prize in Europe’s CHARTS 2014 awards for its work advocating cultural and sustainable tourism. “The Way of Saint James for All” was selected from amongst 27 candidates from all over Europe as a benchmark of excellence and good practices in the field of cultural and sustainable tourism. It garnered first prize, ahead of Latvia’s Hanseatic project in the Vidzeme region and Italy’s Cittadella project in the Veneto region. The prize was granted within the framework of the closing ceremony of the CHART conference, held from 10 to 15 September in Volos (Greece).
The panel of judges deemed that this project fulfilled the requisite criteria to reap the award: as a benchmark cultural initiative aimed at people with disabilities; using ICT to offer adapted information to visitors with sensory impairments (the website http://camidesantjaumeperatothom.cat/ features audio guides with sign language); and as an example of the creation of an accessible tourism product.
Driven by the Catalan Tourist Board (ACT), “The Way of Saint James for All” seeks to facilitate access to the Catalan section of the Way of Saint James for people with physical or sensory disabilities (the visually and hearing impaired) and reduced mobility. In addition, it is a project that is perfectly aligned with Catalonia’s Tourism Marketing Plan that, among other elements, gives precedence to products that promote routes and itineraries for discovering Catalonia’s rich culture and heritage.
The CHARTS project (http://www.charts-interreg4c.eu) is a European initiative focussed on the role of culture and heritage in the delivery of added value to strategies for sustainable tourism development. Comprising 13 members from 11 countries and 10 European regions (IBERTUR – University of Barcelona is the Catalan member), it is funded by the EU’s Interregional Cooperation Programme (INTERREG IVC). Its goal is to share strategies, methodologies and good practices in the field of cultural and sustainable tourism among Europe’s various member destinations.
The Catalan Tourist Board is an Associate Member of ENAT