Inclusive tourism opens the Nordic region to everyone
10 Oct 2022
Inclusive tourism has many advantages. At the conference Inclusive Nordic Travel on 7 November, examples of inclusive tourism services - and the impact they have - will be presented.
Making tourism services accessible increases their quality and the enjoyment for everyone. It also improves the quality of life in local communities. The conference Inclusive Nordic Travel on 7 November in Oslo will gather both the private and the public sector, as well as others interested in the field of Universal Design and Sustainable Tourism. A main goal is to offer inspiration to move towards sustainability and accessibility.
– We want to inspire each other, learn from each other, and show good examples of how we can strive towards sustainable and inclusive tourism in the Nordic region, says Anna Bjørshol, department director at Bufdir, the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs.
The whole travel chain needs to be accessible
The Nordic region has already come a long way when it comes to inclusive tourism, with accessible public transportation, nature trails accessible with wheelchairs and city street crossings with audible indications as a few examples. But there is still a lot to improve and develop. Anna Bjørshol stresses the importance of making the entire travel chain seamless and well-functioning.
– Take for example a nature trail that has been made accessible, and that can be used by practically everybody – but the transportation to the trail may be difficult. If we can link travel chains together, I think we are on the right path, says Anna Bjørshol.
Providing accessible and relevant information about destinations and ways of travelling is also key when making tourism more inclusive.
Virtual reality at the museum and watching geysers from wheelchairs
At the conference, several examples of inclusive travel will be presented in three parallel sessions. The examples respond to specific issues in inclusive travel, and they have been chosen because of their take on sustainability and transferability to other contexts and locations.
In the technology session, museums using VR to heighten the visitors’ experiences will be a topic, as well as the use of AI in the travel industry. The outdoor session will tap into the conflict between accessible nature and intervention in nature. The possibilities will be highlighted, and the challenges are weighted against the consideration of equal access to nature and experiences. The examples stretch from accessibility information in Finnish national parks, 1:1 outdoor experimental lab for accessible nature to a presentation of accessible tourism in Iceland. The transport session will deal with various topics such as the UN’s sustainability goals and the transport system, what new transport technology means for disabled people’s travel opportunities. Travel experiences that disabled people have as tourists will be shared.
– Everyone should be able to be a tourist in the Nordic region, and to achieve this we need inclusive tourism with universal design. This is something we need to work towards, says Anna Bjørshol.
The conference Inclusive Nordic Travel in Oslo will be live streamed. The conference language is English. The event is organized by Bufdir in cooperation with the Nordic Welfare Centre, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Equality and the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Council of Nordic Cooperation on Disability has been involved in drawing up the programme for the conference.
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