1: #MapMyDay: People worldwide invited to map accessibility in tourism
World Tourism Day on September 27 marked the start of the second edition of the worldwide campaign “MapMyDay”. The goal this time: to raise awareness of the barriers that people experience when they are on vacation and travelling.
The German NGO Sozialhelden and the non-profit asociation European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) are calling upon people everywhere to rate the wheelchair accessibility of places that are of interest to tourists, using the online map Wheelmap.org. The occasion for this worldwide event is World Tourism Day 2016. Steps, stairs and broken elevators – barriers that many people can easily overcome, can prove to be insurmountable obstacles for people in a wheelchair, with a walking aid and for families with a baby carriage. These barriers are even more of a hindrance for people travelling to a new place where the surroundings bring on a lot of questions: Which hotel or vacation rentals are accessible? Where can I go shopping for groceries with my wheelchair? Which tourist sites are accessible without steps?
2: Seninter: new EU project supporting multi-generational travelling for grandparents
One of the aspects of the social pillar of responsible tourism is about making it easy for everyone to enjoy tourism experiences regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age.
Society is getting older: nowadays, more than 128 million people in the European Union are aged between 55 and 80 years, representing about 25% of the total population and the current demographic trends in the EU show that the proportion of senior citizens is bound to constantly increase up to a 30% in 2060.
Nevertheless, the European-wide senior tourism market remains limited and fragmented, senior tourists’ mobility is often problematic and very often the supply is scarcely designed when it comes to meeting the needs of the elderly.
In this context, the European Union is financing several projects in order to foster the creation of touristic products for seniors in low season. The project, called SENINTER, plans to create a slow and sustainable tourism product targeted and adapted to seniors traveling with their grandchildren during the low and medium season in Europe.
3: Entrepreneur creates app to make the world more accessible
As someone who uses a wheelchair, Maayan Ziv was often unsure if city spaces would be accessible until she showed up at the entrance. Unable to find this valuable information anywhere, Maayan took matters into her own hands and developed an application called AccessNow.
“AccessNow is a mobile app that is using crowd sourcing to collect and share accessibility information all around the world,” said Ziv.This groundbreaking web-based app uses crowdsourced information to pinpoint the accessibility status of hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and tourist destinations around the world on an interactive map.
4: New Facebook Group launched to share best practice in accessible tourism in Asia
Many Asian countries have vast challenges to overcome in the attempt to make their infrastructure and services accessible. Many organizations in the Asia Pacific Region are actively lobbying for accessible and inclusive tourism, engage in training for service suppliers such as hotel and airline staff, and offer tours for people with disabilities.
The Asia-Pacific Network for Accessible Tourism (APNAT) was established after the ICAT2014 Conference in Malaysia by experts and stakeholders in inclusive tourism.
Feeling the need to engage even more actively in discussions and exchange, and to involve a broad range of stakeholders from around the world, a discussion group has been created on Facebook – ATAP (Accessible Tourism – Asia Pacific) – that aims at raising awareness and increasing understanding about accessible and inclusive tourism. Everybody interested in accessible tourism in the Asia Pacific region and worldwide is invited to join, which particularly includes travel agencies interested to engage in this largely unexplored area.
5: #TOURISMFORALL – Is your travel website reaching as many guests as possible?
Considering I build websites for responsible tourism companies, I only recently realised that I wasn’t thinking enough about the internet from an accessibility point of view. Nor, it would seem, are many of the responsible tourism companies I have worked with.
Recently, however, I read the accessibility page on the website of Native Hotels. Aside from being in six languages, www.nativehotels.org goes much further than most to ensure its website can be read easily by as many people as possible.
As Native Hotels explains: “With the W3C system (the most used in the world) you can use a Braille Line which converts to dots the text that appears on the screen. And you can use the hearing system Jaws that reads the text on the screen as fast as you want. Among other solutions. And with InSuit tool you can access the information without viewing the screen, without touching the keyboard and without talking to the computer. We can simply blow on the microphone of our headphones. This system allows navigation even to a blind, mute and hands motionless user. And you can use it on any computer, not necessarily yours, because accessibility is embedded in the website and do not need peripherals or specific programs.”
Read the full artcile here.