Monday , 22 April 2024

Teleconference of the Wheelchair Federation with the Minister of Tourism on accessible tourism

Teleconference with the Minister of Tourism V. Kikilias had the president of E.S.A.meA. Ioannis Vardakastanis on Monday, January 17th. On the part of E.S.A.meA. also participated the general secretary of E.S.A.meA. V. Koutsianos, the accessibility expert M. Christofi and the executive of ESDP Ch. Samaras. Mr. Vardakastanis testified the memorandum of E.S.A.meA. on the claims of the disability movement in relation to Accessible Tourism.

During the teleconference it was decided to sign a protocol of cooperation between E.S.A.meA. and the Ministry of Tourism to develop synergies aimed at ensuring access for people with disabilities and reduced mobility throughout the tourism chain. The protocol will focus on integrated information on accessibility, the integration of a relevant educational unit in tourism schools of all levels, the development of education and training programs for people with disabilities in tourism professions as well as the support of their employment in the labor market.

Mr. Vardakastanis pointed out that it is particularly important to certify accessible infrastructure and services. "The recording to date, with a relevant statement by the entrepreneurs, has proved unreliable, shaking the trust of potential visitors of Accessible Tourism." It is necessary to use the existing Greek Accessibility Mark (owned by ELOT and E.S.A.meA.) for the certification of the accessibility of tourism enterprises based on the national standard ELOT 1439 "Organization friendly to citizens with disabilities – Requirements and recommendations" and the relevant Technical Specification ELOT 1449. The procedure for the award of this Label follows the internationally applied procedures for the award of labels, but with a strong presence of trained people with disabilities as experts and / or accessibility inspectors.

The possession of the Hellenic Accessibility Label must be established as the only means of certifying the accessibility of businesses and be a prerequisite for the granting of an operating license to tourism businesses:

"The establishment of an Accessible Tourist Destination Label, which should be developed jointly with the Ministry, ELOT and E.S.A.meA. and will be awarded on the basis of specific transparent and measurable criteria, utilizing - where possible - the Greek Accessibility Label, it will also enhance the credibility of the Greek Model of Accessible Tourism.

Finally, it was agreed to co-organized an international forum on Accessible Tourism that will take place annually in a different region of the country.

"The policies of accessible tourism will upgrade our tourism product and lengthen the tourist season in the country," the tourism minister stressed.

Mr. Vardakastanis stated that this was a constructive discussion on issues that E.S.A.meA. timelessly claims and will continue to push until they are conquered.

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