As part of its strategy to ensure equal rights and accessibility to people with disabilities, the Greek Social Policy Bureau announced that beaches across the country will be fitted with boardwalks and sea ramps by next summer.
Budgeted at 5 million euros and to be funded by the EU’s NSRF program, the initiative aims at making a number of Greek beaches wheelchair friendly with the installation of removable boardwalks or ramps stretching out over the water. Municipal authorities are invited to submit applications to the Greek Economy Ministry to participate in the program. A call for applications is expected to be announced on November 27. Most potential beneficiaries of the program will be coastal municipalities.
Greece’s National Confederation of Persons with Disabilities (ESAmeA) has repeatedly called on the government to work towards ensuring accessible tourism, which it says will add value to national policies, draw in new travelers, extend the tourist season, increase competitiveness, create new jobs and boost the national economy.
Indicatively, there are over 120 million people with disabilities across Europe with some 89,300,000 wishing to travel to destinations offering accessibility.
ESAmeA proposals include the creation of a working group that would cooperate with the tourism ministry to develop accessible tourism policies; the establishment of a legal framework that would implement the principles of accessible tourism; the introduction of incentives to improve the accessibility of existing tourist infrastructure; the provision of on-the-spot assistance via escorts and professional sign language interpreters; quality certification of accessible tourism infrastructure and the development of low cost targeted accessible tourism packages that would ensure the participation in tourism of people with disabilities or other special needs.