2nd Baix Empordà Inclusive Tourism Conference
An aerial view of Casa Santa Elena’s facilities in a screenshot from its promotional video, accessible with subtitles and sign language interpretation.
More than thirty people from the public and private tourism sector met in Santa Cristina d’Aro to take part in the 2nd Baix Empordà Inclusive Tourism Conference, organised by the Tourism Department of the Baix Empordà Regional Council. In addition to addressing different issues to work towards a more inclusive tourism, some examples of good practices were presented.
Web accessibility, autism and easy-to-read method
The first talk was given by David Sabaté from Tothom Web. He spoke about web accessibility, the aim of which is that everyone should be able to use the Internet under equal conditions. This means that a web page must be perceptible, that is, the information must reach everyone; it must be operable, everyone must be able to use it; it must be understandable, everyone must understand it, and it must be robust, that is, the information it contains must communicate correctly with the tools that the user uses to browse.
The second talk dealt with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Psychologist David Encinas, from the organisation Viu Autisme in Platja d’Aro, made some recommendations to take into account when designing inclusive activities for people with ASD. He talked about adaptations in visual support (pictograms, colours…) on paper or on screen. He also explained that these people are very sensitive to visual, auditory and tactile stimuli and that they need detailed information about the activity in advance.
The third talk focused on the easy-to-read method. The co-director of the Easy-to-Read Association, Elisabet Serra, discussed some guidelines for writing texts and designing documents so that everyone can read and understand them. Some recommendations are to write short sentences; to use clear, direct and simple vocabulary; to use clear typography, and to complement the text with pictures.
Examples of good practices
Two of the examples of good practices that have been presented come from the counties of Girona. The first one is the MAC Ullastret. The Iberian city of Ullastret is the largest Iberian settlement in Catalonia. During the conference, the accessibility measures of the site were highlighted. It has an adapted itinerary for wheelchair users, there are hearing loops at the reception desks, it offers adapted audio guides with a magnetic induction system and sign-guides, and it organises inclusive guided tours.
Another example of good practices was precisely the place where the conference was held: Casa Santa Elena, a resting place in the heart of the Solius valley that is working to be an inclusive accommodation. The facilities are adapted for wheelchair users, as are some of the rooms. In recent months, the team has worked on several adaptations for people with sensory disabilities: they have incorporated tactile ground surface indicators, they have signposted plans and rooms in Braille, they have installed a fixed hearing loop in the reception desk and they have another portable one, and they have adapted their promotional video by adding subtitles and sign language interpretation.
The 2nd Baix Empordà Inclusive Tourism Conference was held to raise awareness and sensitise the tourism sector to the importance of working on inclusive tourism as a social responsibility and as a differential and qualitative value.