According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2023), ¨an estimated 1.3 billion people – about 16% of the global population – currently experience significant disability¨. Accessibility for all to tourism facilities, products, and services should be a central part of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy.
Accessibility is not only about human rights. It is a business opportunity for destinations and companies to embrace all visitors and enhance their revenues.
This portal provides UNWTO resources targeting both public and private sectors to include accessibility into their policies and businesses strategies. All resources have been developed in collaboration with Organizations with Persons with Disabilities (DPOs), and key civil society and tourism sector stakeholders. Most of publications guidelines and recommendations have been laid-out following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (level AA).
UNWTO International Conference on Accessible Tourism – 16/17 November 2023
UNWTO and the Government of the Republic of San Marino provided an international platform for governments, destinations and the private sector, to advance accessibility.
What were the objectives of the Conference?
- Foster Leadership in Accessibility: Explore the role of governments and destinations in advancing accessibility.
- Provide International Guidance: Discuss how international tools and universal design principles are applied to the tourism value chain.
- Advance Innovation: Showcase innovative solutions in access to transportation, cultural heritage, nature areas, leisure, MICE and tourism businesses.
Who was this Conference for?
- Governments and destinations
- Tourism industry professionals and developers of IT solutions
- Organizations of persons with disability
- International organizations and development agencies
Which take aways did participants get?
- Insights on best practices and successful accessibility solutions
- Network opportunities
- Being part of the UNWTO & San Marino Action Agenda For the Future of Accessible Tourism
Download here the Programme of the Conference.
ACCESSIBILITY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MANAGERS OF NATURAL RESOURCES
A set of guidelines on accessibility targeting key players in the management of natural resources, was published by UNWTO and partners in October 2023.
These recommendations aim to guide the decision-makers of natural resources in tourism in undertaking accessibility improvements. The document has a particular focus on facilitating access to protected areas, beaches and parks.
The WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), acted as the expert reviewers. Their involvement was key in identifying the best actions geared towards a greater extent of accessibility and inclusiveness within nature areas, vis a vis tourism.
The guidance tool, whose drafting was led by UNWTO, the ONCE Foundation and UNE, is part of the promotion of ISO Standard 21902:2021.
Recommendations for cultural tourism key players on accessibility
UNWTO, Fundación ONCE and UNE issued in September 2023, a set of guidelines targeting key players of the cultural tourism ecosystem, who wish to make their offerings more accessible.
The key partners in the drafting and expert review process were the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT). The ICOMOS experts’ input was key in covering crucial action areas where accessibility needs to be put in the spotlight, in order to make cultural experiences more inclusive for all people.
This guidance tool is also framed within the promotion of the ISO Standard ISO 21902, in whose development UNWTO had one of the leading roles.
User-guide for Accommodation, Food&Beverage and MICE companies to apply International Standards
UNWTO, Fundación ONCE and the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE) launched, in January 2023, a user guide to apply international standards targeting accommodation, food & beverage and MICE companies. This new guidance tool should serve as a starting point for assessing their levels of accessibility, as well as for developing or adapting accessible services and experiences offered by these sectors.
The key partners in the revision process were Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, International Circle of Hospitality Directors (CIDH), as well as the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT). Our partners’ knowledge was instrumental in communicating key messages to the tourism industry on improving accessibility in the recovery process.
Download the user-guide (January 2023) here:
New user-friendly guides for destinations to implement accessibility standards
On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNWTO, ONCE Foundation and the Spanish Association for Standardization have launched, in December 2022, a user-guide targeting public administrations and tourism destinations to implement ISO Standard 21902:2021.
This is a key tool to understand specific actions that can be undertaken by a wide range of organizations entrusted with designing policies, strategies and destination marketing plans in the sphere of accessible tourism.
Download the user-guide (December 2022) produced in collaboration with Turismo de Portugal, Turismo Argentina and European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT):
ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS AND RECOMMENDATIONS GUIDING THE RECOVERY
UNWTO held a webinar on 9 December 2021, in partnership with the ONCE Foundation, UNE Spain and ENAT, to shed light on the new normative instruments and recommendations on accessible tourism.
The industry’s leaders called upon tourism stakeholders to implement their own accessibility agenda, in order to grasp all its benefits and make everyone feel welcomed. Every customer counts now, in the recovery process.
Please click here for the recording (YouTube file) or visit the event’s webpage.
You can click and download below the takeaway thoughts & conclusions (accessible PDF file):
➥Conclusions (in accessible PDF format) – English: Webinar
➥Conclusions(in accessible PDF format) – Spanish: Webinar
Documents available for download:
External partners’ projects and initiatives
Gondolas for All: A cutting-edge project to make gondolas accessible to all. Click for a promotional video and a cartoon. For more info please contact Mr. Roberto Vitali, President, Village4All, [email protected]
Weseman Travel: Catering for deaf travellers from Europe visiting deaf communities in developing countries. Click here for the video or read an article about the founder Mr. Jos Weseman. For more info please contact [email protected].
Ruta Accesible: An online portal aimed at making travelling possible for all. The website provides information about several countries for travellers with reduced mobility. For more info please contact Josefina Kuncarjos, legal representative of the portal, at http://rutaaccesible.com/ . (Only available in Spanish)
ReadSpeaker: A software solution that critically enhances the accessibility for all of the web, as it allows visitors to listen to the text of every webpage being read aloud. For more info, please visit http://www.readspeaker.com/.