ENAT Moves Europe to Positive Action on Inclusive Tourism!

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Following hot on the heels of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT)
conference, the European Parliament is registering some action on behalf of travelers with disabilities. Note in particular the emergence of an EC "Tourism for All" label at the same time we are writing the ASEAN standards in Thailand following ICAT 2007.

I was unaware how quickly the Inclusive Tourism scene would mature s I closed my presentation at UNESCAP last week with the following:

The next two years will be a surprise to those in the industry who have not yet prepared their profit-based approach to disability. Some will be asking you to help. You have an opportunity to contribute and to shape the travel industry. That may be with the rights-based emphasis through government, education, or policy. It may on the profit-based side through invention, construction, marketing, or business creation.

Whatever opportunity you choose, take your pride - and your money - on the road. Travel. Teach the industry and level the path for the ones who come after you!


For immediate release:

European Parliament Puts Accessible Tourism on EU Agenda

On 29 November 2007, European Members of Parliament passed a resolution on
a renewed EU Tourism Policy: "Towards a stronger partnership for European
Tourism", calling for Member States to make a united effort to support
Accessible Tourism.

MEPs gave their backing to Italian MEP Paola Costa, who provided a
wide-ranging report on the challenges faced by the European Tourism
sector, and a set of 22 concrete proposals for renewed action.

The keyword which runs throughout the report is "partnership" - for only
by working together, says Paolo Costa, can EU Member States tackle the
fragmented policies and practices which currently frustrate efforts in
the tourism sector.

Accessible Tourism

Actions for the future of accessible tourism in Europe are called for in
six specific paragraphs, declaring that the European Parliament:

"...Welcomes initiatives to coordinate at European level the information
on accessible tourism that would allow tourists with reduced mobility and
their families to find information about the accessibility of tourist
destinations; calls on all Member States, tourism providers and national
and local tourist organisations to join and/or to support this kind of
initiative;

- At the same time, calls on the Commission and the Member States to
consider the feasibility of drawing up a charter of the rights and
obligations of European tourists, in view of the riotous and violent
incidents caused by European tourists in European tourist destinations ,
and also a European code of conduct for tourist businesses;

- Calls on the Commission and the Member States to initialise an "Access
for all " EC label that would guarantee core accessibility facilities for
tourists with reduced mobility and would cover offers such as
accommodation, restaurants, leisure and natural sites, auditoriums,
monuments, museums, etc.;

- Stresses, furthermore, the need to protect, conserve and restore the
European cultural heritage; and calls for more stringent management of
such sites and of the conditions under which they are visited, and for
greater efforts to improve access for people with disabilities, growing
numbers of whom now travel for leisure purposes;

- Calls on the Commission to draft a Communication with an action plan on
the enhancement of such a label based on the work it has already carried
out , on experiences and best practices at national and local level and
taking stock of what has been achieved at EU level in the transport field;

- Notes that the accessibility of tourist destinations is a matter that
also has to do with the transport services provided or available; calls,
therefore, on the Commission, for the purposes of the new European tourism
policy and of developing European transport policy, to take due account of
the accessibility handicap affecting regions with specific natural or
geographical characteristics, such as the outermost regions, island and
mountain regions, and the sparsely populated northernmost regions..."

Moreover, the Parliamentary Report presents no less than twenty-two
suggestions for actions by the Members States, Regional and Local
authorities, including the need to:

"... protect, preserve and restore European cultural heritage assets and
[calls for] more rigorous management of cultural sites and their visiting
arrangements, as well as for greater efforts to improve access for
disabled people, an increasing number of whom are travelling for tourist
purposes..."

Responding to the Tourism Report on the European Day of People with
Disabilities, ENAT Coordinator Ivor Ambrose stated: "We welcome this firm
and forward-looking resolution by the Members of the European Parliament,
as it gives a timely and much-needed message for public authorities and
the tourism industry.

"All parties must work together across national and regional borders to
make accessible tourism a reality, both for European consumers and
international visitors. ENAT's members are ready to play their part in
fulfilling the ambitions that are contained in this resolution."


--

Ivor Ambrose, Coordinator
European Network for Accessible Tourism
c/o EWORX S.A.,
Rodou St., 22
GR-15122 Marousi, Athens
Greece.
Tel. 0030 210 614 8380
Fax. 0030 210 614 8381
E-mail: enat@accessibletourism.org
Web: http://www.accessibletourism.org
SKYPE name: ambroiv

ENAT: The European Network for Accessible Tourism is
a voluntary association of organisations and individuals
from the private, public and NGO sectors. Our mission is
to make European tourism destinations, products and
services accessible to all visitors.
>From December 2007 ENAT will be established as an
international NGO with its head office in Brussels.

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