Tourism; Training projects
Led by the Centre for Accessible Environments, visits4u is a project to develop and deliver inclusive tourism training and capacity building across six European partners aiming to improve user experience and sustain inclusive design in tourism beyond the initial scope of this project. The project will run for 18 months, between July 2016 and December 2017.
visits4u will develop:
- New or improved inclusive tourism packages in three partner countries (Spain, Latvia, Greece), which will promote distinct local cultural heritage and modern art in Reus, Rhodes, and Riga. They will link tourism markets with previously limited or no connections.
- A training module on inclusive tourism aimed at professionals, entrepreneurs and SMEs that will be piloted by the respective partners in Italy and Bulgaria.
The rationale behind the project derives from relevant research and developments across Europe showing that staff attitude is ranked as a key factor for an enjoyable experience. The quality and availability of the right information to visitors are both considered equally important. visits4u will, therefore, aim to address better customer satisfaction under the inclusive tourism narrative, focusing on enhancing staff skills and improving information accessibility. This will be implemented through training, seminars for local tourism companies, case studies – demonstrating that access means good business – and toolkits to help embed inclusive practices in the field.
The action is structured in four Work Packages:
- Capacity Building
This is the pillar of visits4u; it will include tailored training for partners and local tourism industry staff, entrepreneurs and SMEs and mentoring support to partners by the Coordinator. This package includes the development of a training module on inclusive tourism that will be tested by the respective partners in Italy and Bulgaria.
- Research and Itinerary Design
Partners will map the current state of provision for the proposed itineraries in detail and present an updated profile of accessibility and tourism in their region. The proposed itineraries will be assessed by an Access professional from the UK.
- Product Development and Implementation
This will include development of tourism packages in three partner countries (Greece, Latvia, Spain) based on two themes: modern art and history. Eventually information on these products will also be made available in Sign Language and Easy Read formats.
- Dissemination and Evaluation
The last work package will entail actual promotion of the tourist products and sharing of the project results at the final conference in Latvia.
Partners intend to create links with current cross-European initiatives – such as ENAT, the European Network for Accessible Tourism and PANTOU, the cross-European accessible tourism services directory – to reinforce the legacy of visits4u and lead to more potential synergies in the future.
By the end of the project in each partnering country, visits4u aims to establish stronger networks of tourism businesses alongside increased confidence, knowledge and commitment to making their services more accessible and, as a result, eventually more sustainable.
visits4u comprises seven partners from six countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Spain and the UK. The consortium provides a good practice model as it brings together stakeholders and SME’s from the broader tourism sector, organisations with expertise in inclusive environments and a public authority. This model offers an example for a sustainable and cost-effective support mechanism for the sector, where community and disability organisations can offer ongoing engagement with tourism businesses and advice on potential barriers; at the same time public authorities can actively help standardise the provision of inclusive tourism services in their region.
Lead partner / Coordinator:
Dimos Rodou (Municipality of Rhodes, Greece) www.rhodes.gr
Nikanor LTD (Bulgaria) www.nikanor.bg
Domspain Consulting LTD (Spain) www.domspain.eu
Nodibinajums Invalidu un Vinu Draugu Apvieniba Apeirons (Latvia) www.apeirons.lv
Istituto dei Sordi di Torino (Italy) www.istitutosorditorino.org
Asklipiades South Aegean Regional Social Protection and Solidarity Network (Greece) www.pwdservices.gr/en
Foteini Galanopoulou, European Projects Manager / R & D
Call: COS – TOUR – 2015 – 3 – 04 – 1
Reference number: 699484
Start/End dates: July 2016 – December 2017
visits4u is co-funded by the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020)