In January, Athens Travel Massive members took part of Athens #TourismForAll Challenge to develop unique trip itineraries for tourists with disabilities.
This event recap is by Rebecca Skevaki, Crete Travel Massive leader, founder / CEO Santorini, Athens, and Crete Urban Adventures. Rebecca is also the founder of GrecianLux tour company.
About the event
In the last week of January 2020, the 4th Urban Adventures Global Conference was hosted in Athens, where co-owners and managers from 150 destinations got together for training purposes and a variety of events and workshops of its global network.
Athens Urban Adventures, supported by Urban Adventures Global and Travel Massive Athens, invited all professionals from the Travel Industry, Activity and Sight limitations Representatives but also tourism students to join Athens #TourismForAll Challenge, which took place on the 29th of January in Athens.
What is Athens #TourismForAll Challenge?
Athens #TourismForAll Challenge was a half day-long interactive competition, where local and international tourism professionals teamed up with students from the universities of Athens, to develop unique trip itineraries that can serve the needs of foreign and domestic travelers with mobile, sight, hearing and communication impairments.
The winning travel experience (tour) will be uploaded as a tour on our site Athens Urban Adventures (www.athensurbanadventures.com) in two forms. As a “Free to Download tour” and as a guided tour from which the 10% of net proceeds from every experience sold will be collected to fund disability organizations, including advocacy groups and charities that provide services to people with disabilities.
The aim of Athens #TourismForAll Challenge was to:
* raise awareness about the problem of accessibility in tourism;
* bring attention to the needs of travelers with mobile, sight, hearing and communication impairments;
* find creative ways of providing the best experience for travelers with disabilities, regardless of the lack of proper infrastructure.
How did the challenge go On the day of the event, participants met with our Ambassadors at the NJV Plaza Hotel (Syntagma square), where they were divided into four teams. They received guidelines, a goodie bag with energy bars and drinks and went out in the streets to create a 3-hour thematic tour itinerary for people with a particular type of disability (mobile/ sight/hearing/communication) in the Business Triangle of the city center.
All groups moved to the designated locations and had time to work on the itineraries “out in the field” (check the routes, talk to the vendors, etc.) and work on mini snapshot-videos for research and documentation purposes.
All four teams gathered at 19:00 at the Mask Bar (www.facebook.com/maskathens/), where they all presented their research and results, and a special jury had to choose the Best. Accessible. Tour. Ever. Wine and finger food was offered to all participants and amazing conversations were shared.
All teams presented their creative ideas and most of them were winning proposals as they will be included in the final tour that will be designed and launched this year, for travelers with Activity Limitations. As mentioned above, 10% from the profits of the tour, when launched, will be donated by Athens Urban Adventures back to the communities in need.
Special thanks We want to thank all the Ambassadors for all their trust, participation, passion, ideas, motivation and collaboration in making Athens Accessible together. Thanks to Harris Aslanidis and Babis Dounavis, Wheelchair Ambassadors and Co- Planners, Alexandra Stamatopoulou, Thodoris Tsatsos, Thodoris Konstas, Iakovos Kokkinos, Gerasimos Sklavenitis
Last, but not least a big Thank you to all the sponsors for making this event possible with their valuable contributions: Nestlé and Chipita, Mana Gi (www.managi.eu/el/) and Mask Restaurant in Athens for the venue sponsorship.
The event was positively received by the local community and everyone is looking forward to the next step and implementation of a more Accessible Athens City and Tourism where we are all included.