Portugal has been selected as the most ‘Accessible Tourist Destination 2019’. The country was given the award by the World Tourism Organisation in partnership with ONCE Foundation. It is the first country to be granted the title, recognising its initiatives to promote tourism accessibility.
The country’s government has consistently strived to make Portugal an accessible country for all. In 2016, it launched the ‘All for All Programme’ to empower the tourism sector, reports Travel Daily News. The initiative helped create and promote accessible itineraries throughout the country to make it an inclusive destination for all travellers.
Many travellers have specific mobility needs
There are nearly 90 million travellers with specific mobility needs in Europe. Portugal has emerged as the leader in being able to provide access to these individuals. As a part of its accessibility programme, various initiatives were developed. These include accessible roadmaps made available at Visit Portugal and good practice guides for the tourism sector. Additionally, a special financing line was launched to support and promote accessibility tourism. Nearly 116 projects have received praise and support so far.
Programmes launched by Portugal for people with specific needs
Along with an “Accessible Beach” Programme, Portugal also launched the “Festivals + Accessible” programme. This programme aims to distinguish events that present accessibility conditions for people with specific needs, including pregnant women, seniors, wheelchair users and visually impaired people.
To make things easier, Tur4All, a web search portal and app was launched that provides information on hotels, restaurants for people with specific mobility needs in Portugal and Spain.
Speaking of the award, Ana Sofia Antunes, Portuguese Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities said: “This is the recognition of a solid and structured work that Portugal has been doing in terms of promoting more and better accessibility for all. The recently developed “More Access Programme” will support accessibility promotion projects in about 50 municipalities amounting to € 15 million.”