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Transnational conference "Tourism for All" Press Release

01/12/2010 | 0 comments

Participants in the international conference “Tourism for All – good examples from home as well as abroad” appeal to politicians and institutions to start viewing accessible tourism as an integral part of tourism as such. The conference, held on 15 November 2010, by the project “ATHENA” in cooperation with ENAT (European Network for Accessible Tourism) and financed by EU proved the necessity of improvements of provided services so that Czech destinations were fully accessible and available for all.

Despite having several initiatives in Bohemia, mostly in the Bohemian Mountains and in the Moravian-Silesian Region, which strive for accessible tourism, their efforts are in vain due to the non-existing background.

“Czech legislation has been so far totally ignoring accessible tourism. Nevertheless, we are determined to promote accessible tourism as an important part of the prepared new tourism act. We believe that it could result in an increase of competitiveness of the Czech Republic in the sphere of tourism,” points out the project manager of “ATHENA”, Mrs. Jarmila Šagátová.

There are nearly two hundred million tourists who could use those services. Among them are not only disabled persons but also families with children or seniors. Almost 40 % of them, however, refuse to travel due to the lack of accessible destinations and services.

The promotion of accessible tourism is not only an attempt to implement equal opportunities for all groups of people in the sphere of tourism, but also the chance to contribute to the development of Czech regions by increasing local tourism. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to make the political representatives of the regions realize the importance of accessibility as an integral part of the increase of service quality and sustainable development, and to start creating supporting programmes for tourist facilities operators that would lead to the removal of physical as well as structural barriers. Last but not the least, it is important to make them support education in this specific area.

Unfortunately, accessible tourism is being neglected not only by politicians and public administration employees but also by the tourist operators and service providers themselves. According to the conference participants it is important that they too – as professionals and providers of quality services - should remove all barriers and develop their empathic attitude to the clients.

“Yet, many good examples from abroad show that accessible tourism is a highly promising way of entrepreneurship. Its development however requires that the service providers create easily accessible and understandable information materials, and start cooperating with other actors in the tourism area in order to create a network of accessible destinations,” points out Mrs. Šagátová.

Therefore the handbook of accessible tourism, which is the first Czech information material about accessible tourism, was being introduced at the conference. Not only the tourist service providers but also various educational institutions, bodies of the state and public administration and non-profit organizations dealing with accessible tourism will find there useful information.

Download: This press release may be downloaded from the right-hand panel.

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