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 October 28, 2014
First UNWTO Conference On Accessible Tourism In Europe: Accessibility In Heritage Cities

 To promote the importance of universal accessibility in tourism, UNWTO and the Government of the Republic of San Marino will jointly organize the First UNWTO Conference on Accessible Tourism in Europe. The Conference will be held in collaboration with Village for All (V4A) and the ONCE Foundation to advance the social inclusion of people with disabilities (San Marino, 19-20 November 2014).

Facilitating travel for persons with disabilities is a vital element of any responsible and sustainable tourism development policy. Universal accessibility in tourism is not only related to respect for human rights, but also to the considerable economic opportunities that Tourism for All entails.

With a focus on heritage cities, the First UNWTO Conference on Accessible Tourism in Europe will address how to maintain and develop quality, sustainability and competitiveness in accessible tourism.

The Conference will feature best practices for universal accessibility and design in a wide range of European destinations. It will pay special attention to destinations that have developed accessible quality services for all while boosting their competitiveness, without neglecting the challenges of heritage protection. Other topics to be discussed include the development of adequate policies and the role of smart technologies in fostering universal accessibility in tourism infrastructures, facilities and services.

The Conference will be inaugurated by San Marino's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pasquale Valentini, Minister of Tourism, Teodoro Lonfernini, and the former Capitano Reggente (Chief of State) of San Marino, Mirko Tomassoni, who will be joined by the UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai and the Chairman of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, Pascal Lamy, as universal accessibility in tourism has been defined as one of the top priorities of the Committee.

Speakers include representatives of the DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission, the League of Historical and Accessible Cities (LHAC), Salzburg, winner of the European Award of Accessible City in 2012, the Spanish ACS Foundation, the Spanish Agency for International Development and Cooperation (AECID), the ONCE Foundation, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), the Portuguese Tourism Organization (Turismo de Portugal), the Regions of Veneto and Sicily in Italy, Village for All (V4A), Scandic Hotels from Sweden and Visit England.