How to support tourist operators in acquiring skills in the field of the accessible tourism?
Here the LŽNS exempla of accessible tourism among the Tour4all project.
Lithuanian Association of People with Disabilities (LŽNS) years cooperates with governmental, non-governmental, private institutions, and companies which work in Tourism sector – Tourism Department, Tourism Associations, Department of Cultural Heritage, and others, for several years already. The representatives of LŽNS are the members of Lithuanian Tourism Council. This cooperation gives possibility to speak about people with disabilities as the users of tourism services. There is still a common myth in Lithuania that people with disabilities do not travel and to make the touristic objects accessible costs a lot of money but it does not provide an economical benefit. Ginta Žemaitaitytė, the project coordinator of LŽNS, argues that quite often to make an object or a service accessible does not cost so much if at the first stages of building or reconstructing the object one thinks about accessibility. Almost everybody believes that to make the object accessible is enough. For example, if there is no information about the accessibility of the object, nobody will know about it… The lack of information complicates visiting of these objects.
The other problem is that the integrate structure is needed: accessible transport or parking places for the disabled, accessible toilets, catering facilities, and places for rest.
When giving the lectures, representatives of LŽNS present the examples of good practises. For example, Lithuania, the country of hillforts, already has the one hillfort (Ukmergės region, close to Vilnius) which is absolutely accessible for wheelchairs users. They can visit it independently. The other example – the scenic Pūčkoriai outcrop in Vilnius which is adapted for visitors with the movement disabilities (terraces, stairs, wheelchair ramps, parking, information boards). By the way, after the adaptation this outcrop is included in the destinations which are recommend for cyclists.
This cooperation lets to change the attitude of tourism professionals, expand their view and present the projects of Lithuanian Association of People with Disabilities, the project TOUR4ALL as well.
Tour4All is a 2-year project funded by DG EAC, Erasmus+ Programme, KA2 Strategic Partnerships | VET. It takes the mission to tackle the skill gap in Accessible Tourism VET by offering an upskilling training package, skill validation tool, and an online learning resource platform for both learners and trainers.
The project partnership holds together 9 organisations:
- CEPROF – Centros Escolares de Ensino Profissional, Lda (Portugal, coordinator);
- INOVA+ Servicos De Consultadoria Em Inovacao Tecnologica S.A. (Portugal);
- IHK – Projektgesellschaft GmbH (Germany);
- European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training – EfVET (Belgium);
- Fondazione M.E.T.A Musei Eventi Turismo Alghero (Italy);
- Stage Within European Programmes, S.L. (Spain);
- Ovar Forma – Ensino e Formação Lda (Portugal);
- The Lithuanian Association of People with Disabilities (Lithuania);
- Centro Per Lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci (Italy).