Universal design tourism in La Garrotxa
A panoramic view from the air of the crater of the Montsacopa volcano, with the city of Olot at its feet. Image by Pep Callís.
Six people with disabilities: a blind man, a deaf woman, a young man with Down’s syndrome and three wheelchair users. All of them are members of the Multicapacitats association, in Girona. They are accompanied by four tour guides representing Trescàlia, a travel agency specialising in hiking, Turisme Garrotxa and the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. Together, they set out on a self-guided tour of the Montsacopa volcano, in Olot. They start the route with a questionnaire, ready to enjoy the experience and to be critical. Objective: to generate proposals for everyone.
Guides for all
The project is part of one of the actions of Destimed+, a European programme that supports Mediterranean regions in developing, managing and promoting ecotourism in natural parks. The aim is to improve the integration between regional tourism and conservation policies by creating ecotourism itineraries from a collaborative approach. The Garrotxa Volcanic Zone is one of the areas included in this pilot project.
By having the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, Trescàlia, Turisme Garrotxa and the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park go further and plan to develop their proposals for a universal audience. To this end, they have asked Multicapacitats for advice, which contributes to the project with its knowledge and the critical spirit of its associates.
The task of the participants during the visit is to give their impressions of the experience, each one based on their physical, sensory or cognitive condition. Is the information provided of good quality? Is there too little information? Too much? Just enough? Is it understood? Are the indications of the itinerary correct? Is the space adapted?
The impressions of this multidisciplinary and multi-skilled team will be collected in a report detailing the factors to be taken into account when designing activities for everyone. The aim is to generate a white paper on how to generate universal experiences in ecotourism areas. La Garrotxa is a pilot test that can later be applied to other natural parks in Catalonia.