If a tourism enterprise looks at the potential gains, it will surely take the latest Hellenic Tourism Organization‘s publication to heart. The manual, entitled “Making Europe Accessible for Tourists with Disabilities,” fully describes all the necessary steps required to host tourists that want to visit Greece but require special “infrastructure.” According to Christos Papoutsis, the former European Union Commissioner responsible for tourism, there are about 37 million Europeans with special needs, which is three times the number of annual arrivals to Greece. World wide, he said, the number of potential travelers with special needs reaches about 650 million.
Hellenic Tourism Organization President Yiannis Patellis said in addition to the book’s publication in Greek -the manual was first published by the EU under the direction of Mr. Papoutsis in 1996- his organization would hold a number of seminars on the book for all tourism professionals. This, he said, would be followed by an advertising and promotion campaign world wide in conjunction with the Special Olympics to be held here in 2004. As well, he said the development ministry would soon announce a coordination program that centers on activities to celebrate “2003 the Year for Entrance of People with Special Needs.”
Gianna Despotopoulou, president of the Greek Federation for the Special Olympics, urged everyone to read this manual and understand the problems faced by travelers with special needs. The manual can be obtained from the Hellenic Tourism Organization.