UNWTO News 55

Release Date: 
21 Sep 16

Tourism for All!

Accessible Tourism for All is about the creation of environments, products and services that can cater for the needs of both travelers and local population, whatever their abilities may be. Sooner or later, at some point in our lives, we all benefit from universal accessibility in tourism, due to some disability, or because we simply travel with small children or make part of the senior population.

Which is why, we want to call upon the right for all of the world’s citizens to experience the incredible diversity of our planet and the beauty of the world we live in. On this year’s World Tourism Day, help us spread the word of both the importance and immense benefits universal accessibility has and can bring to society at large!

The official World Tourism Day 2016 celebrations will be held on 27 September in Bangkok, Thailand.


For more information, visit the World Tourism Day webpage

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Message by Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General

“Tourism for all – promoting universal accessibility”

With almost 1.2 billion people travelling abroad each year, tourism has become a powerful economic sector, a passport to prosperity and peace, and a transformative force improving millions of lives.

Everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis. Yet 1 billion people around the world with special needs, along with young children, seniors and persons with disabilities, still face obstacles in accessing fundamentals of travel such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate.  Even with modern technologies, those with visual, hearing, mobility or cognitive impairments are being left behind in many tourism destinations.

Accessibility is both an important market opportunity and central to responsible and sustainable tourism policies and business development strategies. I encourage policy makers, destination planners and companies working with people with special needs to work together to remove all barriers, mental and physical, to travel.  On this World Tourism Day, let us recognize that all people can and should be able to participate in tourism and enjoy unforgettable travel experiences.


Message by Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General

“Tourism for all!”

Tourism has experienced a revolution in the past 50 years. In 1950 there were 25 million international tourists; today there are around 1.2 billion people travelling the world. Travelling has become a huge part of many lives. When travelling, we come across new people, new sights, and new ideas. Often our perception of the world changes as we see more of it. However, we must not forget that for many, travelling can be quite a difficult process.

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Message by H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand

"Tourism for All - Promoting Universal Accessibility"

Tourism is vital and at the heart of forging friendships, creating a better understanding between each other and it connects people to people, hearts to hearts.  At the same time, tourism is also a key economic development strategy and a catalyst for the growth of the country, while at the same time tourism is also a significant contributor to job creation and then provides an opportunity to work with people in local communities, giving them the tools to adapt to the needs of a modem day traveler. 

Tourism is an integral source of income for the people in local communities and it is certainly relevant and connected to the operations, as well as the development in areas that would benefit the whole country in various aspects, both directly and indirectly.  The state of our tourism industry has to be diversified, whether it is the social, cultural, or environmental aspects, all of these aspects bring about a sense of pride for the people who work ever so hard to maintain the balance of the quality of tourism that is presented to our guests.

We are improving and developing human resources from the very people who know and understand the culture and who are able to spread the charms of Thainess, while at the same time locals have to understand the meaning of quality tourism and sustainability.

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UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Information in Tourism (2016)
The tourism sector stakeholders must deliver accurate, relevant and timely information to its customers, prior to, during and even after the journey.  Ensuring that the information is accessible, is without any doubt a key to communicating succesfully with visitors in all stages of their their journey, particulary with regards to travelers with disabilities and special needs. 


UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism for All (2013)
The UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism for All are meant to be used as a general, basic mainstreaming framework for ensuring that people with disabilities have access to the physical environment, the transportation system, information and communications channels, as well as to a wide range of public facilities and services. 

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