Page content

Back to list

Barrier-free travel

An inclusive community

Goal of the 12th Accessible Tourism Day: An inclusive society - also when travelling

On Wednesday, 6 March 2024, the 12th Barrier-free Tourism Day took place at ITB Berlin. Following welcome speeches by political representatives, experts at the event organised by the German National Tourism Board (DZT) gave introductory speeches on subjects including the development of barrier-free destinations and communications, services tailored to specific markets, and know-how for tourism professionals on barrier-free tourism. The DZT received support from the state-organised working group “Tourismus für Alle“, the working group “Leichter Reisen - Barrierefreie Urlaubsziele in Deutschland“, and “AG Tourismus des Deutschen Behindertenrats (DBR)”.

Europapark Rust is Germany’s largest leisure park and wants to attract all visitors. For 13 years the operators have dedicated themselves to helping as many transport services, restaurants and hotels as possible to organise barrier-free access. In his keynote speech, David Lämmel, head of the Marketing, Sales & Digital team, highlighted how the leisure park has made the majority of its attractions accessible to people with disabilities. Specially designed systems and lifts help people get on board. Hotels provide an extra room for wheelchair users, with ample space for transferring them, and sensible details such as height-adjustable washbasins. During the design stage the Europapark Rust team also cooperated with the consultant Tim Eigenbrodt, who is a wheelchair user himself. He in turn focuses on training his employees.

Prof. Dr. Peter Neumann, Professor of Tourism Studies at IU Internationale Hochschule, explained how the subject of barrier-free access could acquire a better status in vocational training. Both the combined and correspondence courses at his own university approached the subjects of sustainability, quality management and barrier-free access together. The combination ensured that all services were regarded as one, and was well received by students. Many of them researched tourism services for people with disabilities for their final papers and translated the findings into practice.

Monika Klapper of Fernakademie für Tourismus und Hospitality presented her compact course on Barrier-free Tourism. This was available as an extra-occupational correspondence course and could complement tourism studies. Teaching material is barrier-free, making it open to people with disabilities as well. The course targets tourism professionals and newcomers, including from other occupations. It deals with the terminology of barrier-free tourism, market prospects, actors, concrete strategies and practical recommendations.

Awareness for barrier-free access can be raised among smaller tourism companies as well, as demonstrated in the UK. It has pledged to become Europe’s destination with the best barrier-free services. VisitBritain provides tour operators with a business tool kit. Ross Calladine presented an online guide with tips for implementing practical measures easily and at low cost.