Italy is the “hospitable country” thanks to the absence of architectural, cultural and sensorial barriers, an essential condition to enjoy Italian touristic Heritage. Opentourism project links 13 Italian regions to promote territories and resources, and give information on accessibility of structures and touristic services.
Inter-regional tourism itineraries for all
Inter-regional tourism itineraries for all is a project that has been approved and financed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, subscribed by 13 Italian regions, concerning accessibility to places, itineraries and structures of touristic interest for “people with special needs”. The involved regions are Emilia Romagna as leader, Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia, Sicily and Sardinia.
The project aim is to collect, systematize and promote the initiatives that the regions have carried on within their territories, in order to enhance, share and make accessible tourism offer efficient and no more fragmented.
In this perspective, the main project lines have followed progressive and shared steps:
Mapping and analyzing the accessible tourist offer in Italy
Collecting results and organize them into a system is a priority.
Sharing of an awareness method
Defining a common method of data collection and release.
Identifying the itineraries and enlarging of the accessible tourist offer
Interregional itineraries for all, with survey activity, priority of application method to itineraries already identified and created within tourist development inter-regional projects L.135/01.
Promotion and communication
Realizing a national database, congruent with national and regional information and promotion instruments.
The project has its roots in different experiences, of international (European Interreg Project CARE - Accessible Cities of European Regions and Interreg III B CADSES – 2004 project), inter-regional, regional and sub-regional level.
At inter-regional level, it is considered the mother project the National Program "Italy for All", conducted by the Tourism Department with ENEA in 1997-1999.
The result of this work was the manual “Quality of tourist hospitality for clients with special needs”, realized by CO.IN. The manual contained useful suggestions and information for tourist operators, according to the different requirements of clients with special needs.
In the 3-year period 1999-2001 Enea carried out the project named “STARe – Tourist Services for Accessibility and comfortable residence, realizing:
- A study on the demand and one on the offer of accessible tourism in Italy,
- A measuring method for accessibility, method IG - VAE
- A data base with information of more than 4000 tourist properties in Italy,
- Eight studies of feasibility of business initiatives within tourist services branch for people with disabilities.
The European Project Interreg C.A.R.E. – Accessible Cities of European Regions starts to develop during 2004-2006 period.
The members participating to the C.A.R.E. project are Emilia Romagna (as project leader) and 15 other partners representing 5 European countries (Italy, Germany, Greece, Romania, Austria).
The project deals with the problem of tourist accessibility of the cities, in order to realize a services network and some accessible structures among European cities, using a common method of data collection and communication. The most important results have been:
- a study of the demand on an European level
- the publishing of “Accessible Tourism and Customers with Special Needs – Communication Tools for the Market”
- defining the “CARE method”, a shared method of collecting datas which is easier than IG_VAE
- the “Hospitable City Charter” that collects the basic necessary principles to join the C.A.R.E. network of hospital cities.
2006 is the year of ENAT, European Network for Accessible Tourism, a non-profit association for organizations whose aim is to improve the accessibility of tourist information, transports, infrastructures and services. In December 2006 the UN Assembly ratifies the Agreement on the Rights of people with disabilities, approved afterwards in 2009 by the Italian Parliament, and by the UN in 2010.
Some important projects and initiatives take place in Italy:
- Turismabile” in Piedmont, thanks to the Region and realized by CDP – Council for People in Difficulty Onlus
- 2008: V4A® - Village for All, international quality brand for accessible hospitality
- 2009: inter-regional touristic development project “Inter-regional tourism itineraries for all”, agreed by the 13 Italian Regions, available on this site
- 2009: Accessible Tourism Manifesto, presented by the ministerial Commission “For an accessible tourism”, which contains the 10 fundamental principles on which tourism should be based to be careful to everybody’s needs
- 2011: Touristic Excellence Project – Development of Social and Accessible Tourism, Veneto Region
- 2011: ourist Rights Charter edited by the Department for Development and competitiveness of tourism, in cooperation with the State Administrations, the Authorities and the involved tourism organizations.
- 2012: establishment of the Committee for Promotion and support of Accessible Tourism, with decree D.M. 18th May 2012
- 2013: “Accessible is better”, the first White Book on Tourism for All in Italy: an initiative promoted by the Ministry Council Presidency and by the Mission Structure for the Relaunch of Italy Image in cooperation with the Committee for Promotion and Support of Accessible Tourism.
he methodology behind the project is the result of multiple experiences, and basically developed around the concept of self-assessment by the person with special needs, the difficulties that he may encounter when travelling and the various facilities offered to meet the his needs.
Therefore, the method involves the collection of different information, to be filtered according to the type of special need, and the opportunity to have a direct contact with local representatives.
The methodologies from which the method derives are:
- 1997 – 1999: IG_VAE - Guaranteed Information [for the] Evaluation of Accessibility [for one’s] Needs
- 2004 – 2006: C.A.R.E – Accessible Cities of European Regions
- 2009 – 2013: I.I.T.T. – Inter-regional Tourism Itineraries for All
What it is: evaluation methodology for the accessibility to several touristic services for disable tourists
Who: ENEA, inside the “STARe” project
Purpose: collecting of trustworthy and impartial information that allow the customer to choose a destination according to his needs and expectations
Model: survey on buildings and services characteristics
Result: constant updating of the attention to this subject; shifting of the approach from “non-ability” to the “possibility”; attention on the punctuality of services more than on the interrelations
What it is: project for tourist accessibility of cities, from which comes a survey methodology
Who: Emilia Romagna Region as project leader and 15 partners representing 5 European countries
Purpose: creation of a network of services and accessible structures among European cities; communication of the created network
Model: easier methodology compared to IG_VAE
Result: awareness towards a tourism attentive to the needs of not only people with disabilities but also other categories; attention to other types of services (not only accommodations); creating network of services and structures among cities; information and communication activities to tourists and residents; "Charter of the hospitable city"
What it is: project for mapping and realizing inter-regional itineraries
Who: 13 regions, with Emilia Romagna project leader
Purpose: creation of accessible inter-regional itineraries provided with information, through a complete database which is homogeneous and updated
Model: common methodology shared with all partner regions, focused on the detection of routes and collection of information to be communicated
Result: acquisition of updated structures and accessible tourist services; homogeneous collecting of datas; communication and promotion of services database through a user friendly national platform