Ensuring accessibility in tourism and improving the services offered to people with disabilities are key for the development and promotion of Greece’s tourism product, according to Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.
The minister recently held a meeting with the President of the National Confederation of People with Disabilities (ESAMEA), Yiannis Vardakastanis, to discuss ways of improving access to the country’s tourism destinations and facilities for people with special needs.
During the meeting, Theoharis said that better access to tourism services would further upgrade Greece’s tourism product and contribute to the development of the sector.
ESAMEA has repeatedly called on the government to work towards the adoption of accessible tourism policies. During the meeting, the association’s president Yiannis Vardakatstanis said that accessible tourism would extend the tourism season, upgrade the tourism product and promote Greece to new markets.
He also called on the ministry to cooperate with ESAMEA and other relevant ministries in order to improve access to archaeological sites, monuments and museums; green areas; means of transportation; commercial and health facilities and other areas of tourist interest.
ESAMEA has also proposed the establishment of a national accessibility seal that will certify the quality of accessible tourism infrastructure.
Citing an EU study for 2012-2013, Vardakastanis said that the European Union’s “Tourism for All” policy had directly contributed with 352 billion euros to the European economy and generated 4.2 million jobs in European enterprises.
Also present at the meeting was Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas, who said that the ministry’s aim was to ensure accessible tourism facilities for all in public and private areas.