January has been ELMA’s biggest month yet. Thanks to the efforts of the ELMA team here in Vuokatti, much has been accomplished. This month has seen the First steps into the future Ridderrennet International circuit, Research cooperation between the Snowpolis research units and Paralympic sport, and more importantly the future of Sport and leisure for the disabled to be cradled here in Vuokatti.
Accessible Travel Netherlands has been developed to raise awareness about the increasing need of information about access for tourists and to provide reliable information for visitors. This need comes especially from the rising numbers of tourist that might face a disability.
The Vice Minister for Trade and Tourism, Pilar Zorrilla, presided over the first seal award event, held in Vitoria-Gasteiz. The Accessible Seal is the result of the Accessibility Programme developed by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism of the Basque Government which prepares businesses to orient their services to all visitors.
The 5th European Greenways Conference held in Madrid from the 10th to the 12th of June brought together more than 160 people from 12 countries, focussing on pathways and cycling routes. Participants included policy makers and experts from European Greenways, European tourism authorities and representatives of State and community governments involved in planning, building, maintenance, management and promotion.
From Le Perthus and Sant Pere de Rodes in the East to Girona, Montserrat and Lleida, the Way of Saint James runs right across Catalonia. This route is accessible for wheelchair users, thanks to local initiatives which are now promoted by Catalunya Tourism.
Three West Country businesses have been shortlisted for the first UK tourism award recognising attractions with access for disabled visitors. The new Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Awards named the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm, alongside the South Devon Railway and the Eden Project in Cornwall.
American lifestyle magazine, New Mobility, has named Dr. Scott Rains "Person of the Year, 2009". This special recognition goes to Dr. Rains "...for all he does to ensure that people with disabilities can boldly go where everyone else has gone before - and beyond..."! Congratulations, Scott, from the ENAT Members!
For long Vuokatti is known worldwide for its superb sports and leisure facilities. It has been a regular host for all levels of athletes and individuals who enjoy practicing a physical activity in a purely natural and friendly setting. The Elma project is focussed on developing a sustainable, Universally Accessible destination for all.
The objective of the project is to develop nature tourism services for a wider scale of customers. Another aim is to support organisations providing nature tourism services in their development of accessible environments and services. In addition, an objective is to launch strategic and persistent development for evaluating, instructing, and classifying accessible nature tourism.
Within the framework of of the European Union's Operational Programme of Territorial Cooperation between Spain, France and Andorra 2007-2013 (Interreg IV A), the project Accessi Tourisme is a triennial project of cross-border cooperation on Accessible Tourism, between the Department of Turisme de Catalonia and its conterparts, the Departmental Committee of Eastern Pyrenees Tourism, and the Elsa Fundació NGO.
This Guide presents a selection of 19 destinations which offer a full range of adapted tourist resources so that everyone has the chance to enjoy Catalonia's important cultural heritage, its impressive landscapes, its rich gastronomy, and even sporting activities.