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ENAT President's Message: 31 January 2019

photo of Anna Grazia Laura, ENAT PresidentPhoto of Anna Grazia Laura, ENAT President

Rome, 31 January 2019.

Dear Friends,

First of all let me wish a Happy New Year to all our Members, partners and to anyone visiting our website!

2019 is going to mark a significant change in the way our organisation will be perceived all over the world.

Last year, after in-depth discussions among the ENAT Board of Directors, we agreed that our Statutes needed some modifications in order to make it more representative of the world we find ourselves in, after more than ten years of existence.

We have thus included, in our corporate goals, an issue – combatting discrimination - which has always been in our minds, in our daily work and activities, but which is now also officially stated in our Statute:

Article 3. The purpose of ENAT is to promote the development of accessible tourism as a means of combatting discrimination towards people with disabilities and promoting greater social inclusion, at an international level.

This represents an extension of the Association’s social objectives which may be achieved through the continuous promotion of the “Tourism for All” concept worldwide, as a means for supporting inclusion and participation of everyone.

The Second World Summit on Destinations for All, held in Brussels in October last year, underlined the need to give a common answer to the problems related to the promotion of accessible tourism: as a matter of fact, the needs are largely the same in all countries of the world and the answers must be better coordinated, so that our sector can “speak with one voice”.

ENAT aims to cooperate and assist all initiatives that contribute to a more meaningful and sustained dialogue with the tourism industry. We offer our resources and know-how to help  all actors through the challenges of becoming friendly to all customers, by improving the quality of services and developing the skills of workers in their enterprises.

From the beginning of this year, we have also introduced some changes in the membership structure of our organisation. We are now inviting Associate Members from every country in the world and opening the way for them to seek Full Membership of ENAT, so they can have a say in the strategies that we should adopt to promote “Tourism for All” in all parts of the world.

Though we have a “European” baggage tag in our name, our association is looking towards global answers which can only be effective through the participation of members in every region.  

We are continuing to develop and improve tools to help reach a more incisive result by supporting a community of organisations, public and private bodies that, together, can improve the offer of accessible destinations and products.

  • - the online Accessible Tourism Directory, is now a global platform, listing services in 53 countries, of which 23 are countries outside the European continent. This is widening the opportunities for accessible tourism businesses and tourists with specific access requirements to discover each other, wherever they are. We expect Pantou to fulfil its goal to publicise accessible tourism services in all regions and countries and to give visibility to the certified venues and businesses that participate in our World Tourism for All Quality Programme.
  • Within 2019, thanks to our involvement in the project, RARE AND ROLL : Access China and Culture, we are planning to launch a Chinese edition of Pantou, thus reaching a huge audience of Chinese visitors interested to know more about the accessible tourism opportunities in their country and abroad.
  • Our World Tourism for All Quality Programme itself, launched in June 2018 has awarded the first certificates to three outstanding hotels in Ireland. We are now taking the Quality Programme to Spain, Portugal and Sweden, in cooperation with ENAT Members in these countries..
  • The ENAT NTOS’ Learning Group, founded in 2016, is open to all National and Regional Tourist Organisations (and destination management organisations and cities) around the world. It provides a forum for ENAT Members to share experiences, build a common understanding, learn from each other and plan common strategies to focus public and private investments in accessible tourism in their own countries. We will hold further meetings this year with the group, in particular at the 3rd International Congress on Technology and Tourism for All, Málaga, Spain, organised by our leading member, Fundación ONCE.

We have more plans in the pipeline and we look forward with great excitement to working with all of you in the year ahead.

Thank you.

Anna Grazia Laura.

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