New European Accessible Cities Award "will stimulate Tourism for All”
Tuesday 29, June 2010
The award aims to promote accessibility for people with disabilities in four areas: the built environment and public spaces, transport and related infrastructures, information and communication, and public facilities and services.
The four finalists of the European competition will be invited to attend the award ceremony that will take place in Brussels on 2 and 3 December 2010 at the European Day of People with Disabilities conference. The winner of the European competition will receive the 'European Award for Accessible Cities 2011' and will feature prominently in activities to promote accessibility at European level during 2011.
In addition, a special 'European Champion for Accessible Cities' award will be made to recognise the work of a network of cities or initiatives.
Commenting on the awards, Mr. Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism, the industry watchdog and advisory group, said ”From the perspective of the tourism industry, the European Awards for Accessible Cities are a welcome initiative. We hope they will give recognition to those cities that have been investing in accessible tourism facilities and services. It should also stimulate cities across Europe to put even more effort into 'Tourism for All' – catering to all visitors and who need good access”.
He continued, ”Disabled visitors, older travellers and families with small children can all benefit from better access in accommodation, attractions and public transport. Many barriers must still be removed and well-designed services are also very much needed. Cities can profit enormously if they gain a reputation for being accessible and welcoming, not only for holiday tourists but also for the business and conference sector”.
Recent statistics from VisitEngland show that guests with disabilities and long-term health problems, with their accompanying travellers, made up 11% of the visitor overnight stays in 2009, with a value of almost 2 billion pounds . Trips by this group tend to be longer than average and as a result their spend per trip is higher.
More and more travellers think that researching and planning a European city break is half the fun and they're not interested in pre-arranged trips or escorted tours. Self-guided tours offer a lot of advantages but require some guidance and good resources.
With the recent wild fires, disrupting flights and increasing air pollution, environmental quality is a growing factor in attracting tourists.
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