Accessible Tourism in Germany Gains Momentum
13/03/2008 | 0 comments
Following an invitation of the representative of the Federal Government of Germany for Tourism, Mr. Ernst Hinsken (Member of the German Parliament / Deutscher Bundestag) experts recently discussed first results of a new study with the title “Success factors and actions to improve quality in accessible tourism in Germany” at a conference which took place during International Tourism Fair in Berlin at 6th March 2008.
Hinsken has pledged to support all efforts to improve accessible tourism in Germany. With more than 200 tourism practitioners, researcher and political decision makers, the conference was very well attended. Among experts from Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain, newly-elected president of ENAT, Lilian Mueller, were present. This fact was graded as an evidence of European interest in progress in Germany by German organizers of the conference.
According to the study's initial results, which were presented by the Department of Geography at the University of Muenster and Project M Berlin, the number of Germans with access needs who travel has gone up by 4 percentage points since the year 2002. Furthermore, Germany has become more and more important as their main travel destination. Approximately 30 percent of all Germans choose to stay in their own country for their holidays, compared to 43 percent of travellers with access needs. Main travel incentives were 'a healthy climate', 'nature' and 'health'.
It became clear that a focus on accessibility in Germany is crucial, both through regional networks set up by protagonists in the field and through training and education. It is essential to make people aware of the economic potential of tourism for all, as well as about the needs of people with activity limitations. Obvious demographic changes mean that responsible bodies must face the needs of accessible tourism.
New cooperation agreement
As a result of the conference, representatives of six tourist destinations who currently lead the way in accessible tourism signed an agreement for further cooperation and marketing accessible tourism in Germany. A Germany-wide working group entitled “Accessible Destinations of Germany” will be set up from May 2008. There is likely to be another conference about accessible tourism again organised by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in Berlin in autumn 2008.
For more information please email Peter Neumann on peter.neumann[@]uni-muenster.de. Mr Neumann is in charge of the study and moderating the formation of the new working group.