SOMTOTS

Girona’s tourism industry trains in inclusive tourism

A guided tour with sign language interpretation in Girona’s old town. Picture by Diego Espada.

Everyone has the right to enjoy leisure and free time on an equal footing. For this reason, tourism is moving inexorably towards a more inclusive tourism that takes everyone into account. Accessibility is thus becoming an added value, and destinations are striving to adapt their offer to cater to tourists from this market segment. The tourism industry of the Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees is working on a daily basis to train and raise awareness among the different agents in the area in order to become a fully inclusive destination.

Physical accessibility at Girona’s campsites

The Girona Campsites Association has organised a training course on physical accessibility. The conference was held at the Valldaro campsite. The presentations were given by Play & Train and the MIFAS group, who explained what needs to be done to make an activity or space more inclusive. They also stressed the importance of communication, because sometimes the problem is not that a space lacks accessibility, but that accessibility is not efficiently communicated.

An adapted bungalow with an access ramp at the entrance. Picture by Càmping Àmfora.
An adapted bungalow with an access ramp at the entrance. Picture by Càmping Àmfora.

Representatives of eight Girona campsites interested in acquiring the Wheelchair Friendly seal launched last season took part in the event. This is a seal that identifies Girona’s campsites as being free of architectural barriers and with adapted services for people with reduced mobility. One of its objectives, in addition to raising awareness, is to increase the offer of accessible accommodation and spaces at campsites at the Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees.

Cognitive accessibility in cultural heritage

Within the framework of the European project POCTEFA-ARTIS (Art for social inclusion), Girona hosted the conference “Cognitive accessibility in cultural heritage”. The meeting served to reflect on the role of museums and heritage facilities in deconstructing prejudices and building a new perspective on cognitive disability. It also discussed how to ensure the presence, full participation and access to culture for people with intellectual disabilities.

At the Ethnographic Museum of Ripoll, four people with cognitive disabilities take part in a guided tour. They use an easy-to-read guide as a support. Picture by Diego Espada.
At the Ethnographic Museum of Ripoll, four people with cognitive disabilities take part in a guided tour. They use an easy-to-read guide as a support. Picture by Diego Espada.

ARTIS aims to respond to the challenges of inclusion and accessibility of the region’s cultural facilities. Some of the barriers in this sense are information that is difficult to understand, poorly organised or a saturation of stimuli. In order to guarantee understanding, communication and interaction for everyone, environments and contents must be adapted. Some of the tools of cognitive accessibility are easy reading, alternative and augmentative communication systems or pictograms.

Round tables and personal testimonies in Lloret de Mar

Lloret Turisme organised two training and awareness-raising sessions on inclusive tourism. Around thirty participants attended. Topics covered included care, communication and image. The manager of Lloret Turisme, Elizabeth Keegan, stressed the importance of this training and awareness-raising work “involving all tourism stakeholders: accommodation, travel agents, leisure activities, restaurants and local authorities”.

In a square in Lloret de Mar, participants walk in pairs, one in front of the other. The people in front lead the people behind them, who are blindfolded and rest a hand on the shoulder of the person in front. Picture by Lloret Turisme.
In a square in Lloret de Mar, participants walk in pairs, one in front of the other. The people in front lead the people behind them, who are blindfolded and rest a hand on the shoulder of the person in front. Picture by Lloret Turisme.

This training is part of the Lloret de Mar Tourism Sustainability Plan 2021-2023. The plan includes environmental, economic and social sustainability measures. The latter includes initiatives to promote gender equality, lifelong learning and the inclusion of people with disabilities.