Greece is pushing ahead with actions that will make popular tourist destinations accessible to all people with disability, announcing new certification in this direction for tourist enterprises and beaches.
The news was announced on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, who said actions and initiatives in this direction were part of the National Action Plan for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which “apart from [ensuring] equal participation across the tourism industry spectrum, aims to promote Greece as an accessible tourism destination”.
The minister said ensuring accessibility to all of the country’s destinations was a government priority, adding that a bill would soon be tabled in parliament foreseeing the creation of an “Accessible Tourist Destination Label” as well the conditions and requirements that hotels should meet in order to receive certification.
“We are also working on the process that would award an ‘Accessible Tourism Enterprise Label’ to tourism businesses in all categories and types with the aim of raising awareness, motivating them to become friendlier, accessible and therefore easier to visit by Greeks and visitors from abroad with disabilities or reduced mobility,” said Kikilias.
The minister said Greece would be tapping into Recovery Fund resources to improve accessibility at beaches, financing temporary projects such as ramps, wheel-chair paths, accessible restroom, changing room and shower facilities, among others.
The label, said Kikilias, will be awarded to enterprises that have created compliant facilities that simplify disability access.
He went on to add that part of the government’s accessible tourism strategy was focused on educating and training tourist professionals and managers on ways to meet the requirements of disabled customers as well as on incorporating accessibility in digital tourism services and online Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) sites.
“We are connecting accessible tourism with volunteer work, with the creation of a volunteer network to support and serve tourists with disabilities, as well as with the training of groups of volunteers,” he concluded.
On Monday, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said the Acropolis in Athens and its monuments would become accessible to the visually impaired as of June 2022. The UNESCO World Heritage Site became accessible to visitors with mobility issues after the installation last year of a new lift and of specially designed paths facilitating wheelchair access.