Reopening Tourism for Travellers with Disabilities: How to provide Safety Without Imposing Unnecessary Obstacles

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UNWTO Guidance Document on Covid-19 measures for tourism operators. In association with ENAT and Fundacion ONCE, December 2020.

image of wooden pier, tropical sea and blue sky - cover title of guidance document UNWTO Guidance Document on Covid-19 measures for tourism operators. In association with ENAT and Fundacion ONCE, published December 2020.

Travellers with disabilities, specific access requirements and seniors wish to start travelling again just as any other citizen.

This wide segment of the population, comprising millions of potential consumers worldwide, has been hit hard by COVID-19.

As the tourism sector is gradually reopening, it should not impose unreasonable new obstacles and barriers that can often be avoided if we embrace the concept of Accessible Tourism for All, in the recovery process.

The travel & tourism industries should see travellers with specific access requirements as a great economic opportunity for them to stay afloat and make their businesses flourish again.

UNWTO and its partners from disabled people’s organizations and civil society have developed a set of basic recommendations addressed to different stakeholders across the tourism value chain to help them adjust to the new health and sanitary protocols.

Download the Guidance document in PDF format from the right-hand panel.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Much progress has been made in making tourism more accessible to all. As we guide the responsible restart of tourism, we must make sure that this progress is not rolled back. Instead, it must be stepped up as it will benefit everyone. These Guidelines, produced in collaboration with ONCE Foundation and ENAT show that simple, thoughtful measures can make a real difference for travellers – and in return, allow destinations to welcome this wide and diverse demographic as they look to recover from COVID-19.”

Fundación ONCE Vice-President, Alberto Durán, underlined: “We are making great efforts to help everyone enjoy travel and tourism. It is fundamental that we use this time of change to sensitize all stakeholders to the need to include persons with disabilities and their families in tourism, leaving no one behind. These clients can help businesses stay afloat in these challenging times, representing opportunities for all.

ENAT President, Anna Grazia Laura stated: “These practical guidelines for curbing the spread of COVID-19, with due regard for accessibility and inclusion within tourism, can contribute to global efforts to reassure all visitors, benefitting tourists, businesses and destinations alike".