Unavailable vacation: tourism in Italy has a problem with architectural barriers

V.acanze inaccessible to the underworld 3 million and 150,000 Italians living with some form of disability. in fact I am alone 45 of 7.904 (this 0.57%) The municipalities of our peninsula, representing the 15 Regions that can boast the title Lilac flagawarded annually by the Lilac Flag Social Cooperative with the support of the Regional Council for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the Liguria Region, to those municipalities that work day after day, year after year for improve your own tourist accessibility. The latter is one of the most important structural variables determining the qualitative criteria of the tourist offer: a higher level of accessibility has a direct impact on the influx of tourists, the overall quality of tourism and the economic benefits generated by this sector.

Growing need

Due to aging, socio-demographic changes and health problems, the number of end users tourism available is constantly growing and already today, as evidenced by Majid Al-Usaimithe president of the Asian Paralympic Committee and a member of the International Paralympic Committee, representing the part 15% in the global tourism market. According to recent estimates World Health Organizationbetween 10-15% of the world’s population has some kind of need for help and the number of people requiring assistive devices (wheelchair, communication technology) will double, by 2050 from 1 billion to 2 billion people. On the other hand, Istat estimates 70% increase in the number of disabled travelers by 2035as long as tourism and leisure become more accessible and inclusive. Based on an authorship studyUniversity of Surreythe potential of the European accessibility market for tourism is estimated at over 133 million touriststaking into account all people with disabilities and suffering from chronic diseases together with their travel companions with a potential income exceeding EUR 80 billion.

Algida Dolce Vita

“An engine to improve people’s lives”

“Accessibility in tourism can and must be” an engine to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in countries with a strong tourism vocation, given that the efforts benefit society as a whole, he says Antonella CelanoPresident APMARRNational Association of People with Rheumatological and Rare Diseases, a patient association that defends the rights of over 5.5 million people suffering from one of over 150 rheumatological diseases To be able to improve accessibility practices by eliminating the main; structural barriers (reservation and transport services, accommodation, communication) e social (lack of training for companies and operators in the tourism sector and awareness of accessibility) needs to be considered active and direct participation of people with disabilities in development standard international protocols which are able to guarantee the same level of accessibility and quality of service ”.

Cruise boom

Given the inevitable correlation between aging, disability and disability, services need to be designed to focus on people whose mobility, vision, hearing, strength and mental health are deteriorating. For example, cruises have become one of the favorite vacation options for families, couples and seniors day trips for cruise tourists in particular are an area where older visitors require special services. Even if only one member of the group is wheelchair-bound, this is it available taxi or van required from the port to attractions, restaurants and recreational and commercial areas. Without this type of special transport, the tourist will have to stay on board and significant potential income will be lost. Likewise, elderly people with walking difficulties may require a trained and professional guide or staff who knows the right routes to minimize walking difficulties. Some of these clients would appreciate the gods restaurants with accessible toilets, hotel rooms available (in all price ranges), monitored parking lots for electric scooters and attractions suitable for people with visual, hearing or mobility impairments. Other features of the service tailored to people with special needs and requirements may include accessibility Nursing, medical procedures such as kidney dialysis, oxygen, and access to information about hospitals, doctors or physical therapists closest to the center. For example, in Spain, regional governments subsidized hotel prices in low season to encourage more foreign tourists to visit the country and the first edition of the winter program Tourism of seniors in Europe brought to Spain almost 45 thousand foreign tourists. Every third tourist who participated in this initiative was Greek, almost 15,000 Greeks who have enjoyed a cheap trip to the Iberian Peninsula.

Poor availability, poor performance

In destinations and markets where availability is insufficient, market results are 25-35% lower compared to expectations. This is roughly the percentage of people who are influenced by accessibility conditions and tourist destinations that do not prioritize and do not promote travel.availability disabled people, elderly and not elderly tourists ignore this important market. In Germanyfor example 37% of disabled people chose not to travel due to a lack of available amenities However 48% I would travel more often if available, a 60% would like to pay the higher price for their use. Indeed, as he explained Annagrazia Laurapresident European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) in his speech during Dubai’s international pinnacle of tourism 2022Due to the lack of appropriate facilities and services, the global tourism economy is losing approx 142 billion euros AND 3.4 million jobs.

Traveler profile

But what is the typical profile of travelers with disabilities? First of all, they have strong purchasing power, spending average, two to four times as much for a vacation and they love to return to the same destination over and over again when they find it available. They stay in more expensive accommodation in terms of space, hygiene and access requirements. They spend more on renting vehicles (you need larger vehicles) and transport services. They pay more for an extra seat on the plane just to be more comfortable while traveling.

Lilac municipal flag




Emilia Romagna










Trentino Alto Adige


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