Labour inclusion in the tourism sector in the Costa Brava

An aerial view of Lloret de Mar. Image by Lloret Turisme.

Cristina Marquès was born in Lloret de Mar 31 years ago and has been working at Lloret Turisme for 11 years. Her intellectual disability does not prevent her from carrying out her daily tasks and having certain responsibilities, such as preparing tourist material, registering correspondence and destroying sensitive documentation. Cristina tells us that she enjoys all her tasks, but Anna Maynau points out: “She feels very lazy to do inventory.” Cristina nods honestly and laughs.

Anna is Cristina’s role model. She supervises her tasks and gives her support so that she can develop her work activity with the greatest autonomy and stability. In addition, they are monitored by an educator from the ASTRID-21 Foundation, who visits them every two months.

At the Lloret Turisme offices, Cristina, a brunette with short hair and glasses, sits in an armchair and smiles at the camera. Image by Lloret Turisme.
At the Lloret Turisme offices, Cristina, a brunette with short hair and glasses, sits in an armchair and smiles at the camera. Image by Lloret Turisme.

Cristina is proactive, has a good character and enjoys interacting with her colleagues. After work, she attends English and French classes, an activity she has never stopped doing because, as she says, it allows her to “understand the foreigners who visit us.” She says that her work experience has helped her “to be more active” and to be more self-sufficient. A new project has even been born from it: Som capaços, an entity formed by people with intellectual disabilities that organises activities to give visibility to the group.

Cristina calls for more opportunities for people like her to work and have experience in the labour market and in the tourism sector. And Anna adds that companies should “open up their mentality and break down stereotypes and prejudices,” an essential condition for exploring the richness of multi-skilled teams.

In love with Lloret de Mar and committed to raising awareness of the town, Cristina suggests a visit to the coastal path, the Maritime Museum, the beaches and the surrounding natural areas. And when we ask her what the crowning jewel is, she doesn’t hesitate for a moment: “the Santa Clotilde Gardens.”

Two blind people touch the mythical bronze mermaids in the Santa Clotilde Gardens. Image by Isabel Godoy.

Lloret Turisme is working towards an accessible and inclusive tourism. For Anna, “it’s been a great learning experience and we’re really looking forward to doing things.” For example, the Lloret Turisme website features a section dedicated to senior tourism. “We have to stop looking at disability, because we all have limitations.” That’s why, when they create activities, they try to be as inclusive as possible: “We don’t design the activity for a ‘typical’ family, we think that the couple may be in a wheelchair or that there may be a child with Asperger’s syndrome.” Anna is clear: “We have to work in a transversal way and we have to have a universal outlook.”