New European Accessible Cities Award "will stimulate Tourism for All"

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The European Commission has announced a new Annual European Award Accessible Cities. The award is hailed by Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of ENAT, as "...a welcome initiative which will stimulate cities to put even more effort into 'Tourism for All', catering to all visitors who need good access”.

Photo of EC Berlaymont building.Photo: Berlaymont Building, Brussels. (European Commission)

The European Commission has announced a new, annual European Award for Accessible Cities.

The award aims to promote accessibility for people with disabilities in four areas: the built environment and public spaces, transport and related infrastructures, information and communication, and public facilities and services.

The four finalists of the European competition will be invited to attend the award ceremony that will take place in Brussels on 2 and 3 December 2010 at the European Day of People with Disabilities conference. The winner of the European competition will receive the 'European Award for Accessible Cities 2011' and will feature prominently in activities to promote accessibility at European level during 2011.

In addition, a special 'European Champion for Accessible Cities' award will be made to recognise the work of a network of cities or initiatives.

photo of Ivor AmbroseCommenting on the awards, Mr. Ivor Ambrose, (photo) Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism, the industry watchdog and advisory group said, ”From the perspective of the tourism industry, the European Awards for Accessible Cities are a welcome initiative. We hope these awards will give recognition to cities that have been directing investment towards accessible tourism facilities and services. It should also stimulate cities across Europe to put even more effort into 'Tourism for All' – catering to all visitors who need good access”.

He continued, ”Disabled visitors, older travellers and families with small children can all benefit from better access in accommodation, attractions and public transport. Many barriers must still be removed and well-designed services are also very much needed. Cities can profit enormously if they gain a reputation for being accessible and welcoming, not only for holiday tourists but also for the business and conference sector”.

Recent statistics from VisitEngland show that guests with disabilities and long-term health problems, with their accompanying travellers, made up 11% of the visitor overnight stays in 2009, with a value of 2 billion pounds. Trips by this group tend to be longer than average and as a result their spend per trip is higher.

More information

European Award for Accessible Cities on the European Commission website

ENAT offers city authorities their own promotional web page:  Accessible Cities Profile Page