UNWTO approves accessible tourism recommendations

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The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recommendations on "Accessible Tourism for All" (2013) have been approved and endorsed by the General Assembly.

The recommendations, updated from the 2005 version, outline a form of tourism that involves a collaborative process among stakeholders to enable people with access requirements to function independently through universally designed tourism products, services and environments. These recommendations were developed within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2007.

Accessible Tourism for All defines the appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications and facilities open to the public or for public use.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said "Accessibility is a central element of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy". He said "It is both a human rights imperative and an exceptional business opportunity", adding "Above all, we must come to appreciate that accessible tourism does not only benefit persons with disabilities or special needs, it benefits us all".

According to the World Health Organization (2011), there are approximately 1 billion persons with disabilities in the world, or 15% of the world population having a physical, mental or sensory disability. UNWTO´s "Declaration on the Facilitation of Tourist Travel (2009) underlines travel and tourism facilitation for persons with disabilities as an essential element of any policy for the development of responsible tourism.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’35″

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