Traveling without barriers: Progress and recognition in accessible tourism


March 1, 2024


Content in collaboration with our partner Bioscore Sustainabilitysustainability consultancy for tourism companies.

Accessible tourism has experienced remarkable advances in recent years, marking a significant change in the way the tourism industry is conceived and developed worldwide. The inclusion of people with special needs has become a priority, and this approach has led to the creation of initiatives such as Fitur 4all, which seeks to bring tourism destinations and services closer to all people, regardless of their abilities.

In the last decade, this tourism has gained momentum, with many destinations and tourism businesses recognizing the importance of adapting to meet the needs of a diverse customer base. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has played a crucial role in raising awareness and providing guidelines for the implementation of accessible practices.

At the national level, more and more companies are joining the path. Also noteworthy are the initiatives and policies that seek to break down any barriers to enjoyment and travel with limitations. In this context, the initiative Fitur 4all initiative has emerged as a loudspeaker to recognize those projects and destinations that strive to create accessible tourism for all people.

Fitur 4all: Promoting accessible and inclusive tourism

Fitur 4all, which premiered last January at the 44th edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair (Fitur), has as its main objective to bring tourist destinations and services closer to all people, regardless of their abilities. This project has become a benchmark for the tourism industry, providing a space where destinations and companies can highlight their accessibility efforts.

Winners of the I Fitur 4all Awards

The 1st Fitur 4all Awards held this year recognized outstanding efforts in four categories:

Inclusive National Destination: Benidorm

Benidorm has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to accessibility, implementing measures to ensure that its beaches, accommodations and attractions are friendly to all visitors.

Inclusive International Destination: Colombia

Colombia has stood out for its continuous efforts in the creation of accessible tourist destinations, strengthening inclusion in its rich cultural and natural offerings.

Inclusive Tourist Company: PortAventura World- Theme Park 

PortAventura World has excelled in creating accessible experiences in its theme park, demonstrating that fun and inclusion can go hand in hand.

Inclusive Organization or Institution: Red Costarricense de Turismo Accesible (Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism)

The Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism has been fundamental in the creation of a network that connects diverse natural and cultural resources to promote this priority throughout the country.

The 5 major benefits of accessible tourism

Accessible tourism not only benefits people with disabilities, but also creates economic and social opportunities, fostering a culture of inclusion and awareness that promotes diversity.

These are the 5 major benefits of prioritizing accessibility and inclusion in the tourism sector.

Expanding the potential market. By adopting accessibility measures, tourism businesses and destinations expand their potential market, attracting a broader segment of travelers. People with disabilities, senior citizens and families with special needs become potential customers, generating an increase in demand and, therefore, in revenues.

Customer loyalty. Attention to inclusion not only attracts new customers, but also fosters loyalty. Travelers who find services and accommodations accessible and welcoming are likely to return and recommend those destinations to others, generating long-term loyalty.

Compliance with standards and regulations. Many countries and regions have implemented regulations and standards requiring accessibility in the tourism sector. Complying with these regulations not only avoids penalties, but also demonstrates a commitment to corporate social responsibility and equal opportunity.

Positive image and competitive differentiation. Tourism companies that lead in inclusion build a positive image in the minds of consumers. Being perceived as a destination or accommodation that values diversity and inclusion can differentiate the company in a competitive market, attracting a broader and more aware audience.

Development of strategic partnerships. Prioritizing inclusion can open up opportunities for strategic collaborations with specialized organizations and companies. These partnerships not only enhance the customer experience, but also provide additional resources and expertise.

Travel without barriers is now. It is transforming a distant vision into a palpable reality, and the achievements celebrated at the Fitur4all Awards demonstrate that the road to accessibility in tourism is a horizon full of possibilities. 

Removing barriers and building bridges to inclusive experiences is an urgent and collective commitment that not only enriches destinations, but also enriches our lives. Accessible tourism is a collective key that allows us to explore and enjoy the world regardless of limitations.

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