04 February 2022

Raising awareness, promoting training and highlighting the benefits of contributing to the accessibility of a tourist destination: this was FiturNext 2022

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After four days of reflections, good practices and exchange of experiences and knowledge, FiturNext 2022, sponsored by Mastercard, ended its edition on 22 January. More than 40 panellists shared their vision and initiatives that promote accessibility and highlight the fact that inclusion is not an expense, but a benefit for everyone.

Specifically, there were three points that were most emphasised in the activities, by the speakers, throughout the fair:

  • Raise awareness of the problem. One of the keys is to increase awareness of the issue. Luigi Leporiere, accessibility expert and participant in the round table on the challenges of accessibility in the 21st century, pointed out during the session that "accessibility is a commitment to the quality of life of society".
  • Training in accessibility. In order to promote good practices, it is essential that services guarantee a 100% inclusive offer. For this reason, it is important to train professionals in the sector in accessibility in order to improve travellers' experience of life. According to Irene Civera, Cabin Crew Training Manager of the airline Albastar, winner of the last edition of FiturNext, the main thing is to show them "normality and comfort in their experiences".
  • Inclusion as a synonym of quality. Finally, accessibility also helps to increase the quality of a destination. "The best places to live are better places to travel," said Patrick Torrent, executive director of the Catalan Tourism Agency, who attended the awards ceremony for the winning and runner-up initiatives.

Leading speakers and initiatives in the field of accessibility

The congress brought together numerous testimonies and activities that shared the same objective: to promote the fact that tourism is part of social inclusion and, therefore, must contribute to accessibility. Rosa Mª Ivars Llopis, deputy general director of Tourism of the Valencian Community, Igor Stefanovic, technical coordinator of Accessibility of the Department of Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility of the UNWTO, Miriam Díaz Herrera, councillor for Tourism, Trade, Markets and Institutional Relations of the City Council of Valencia, Markets and Institutional Relations of Santander City Council, Daniel Nieto, VP, Government Engagement of Mastercard, and Carme Rubió, deputy general director of Territorial Tourism Development of the Directorate General of Tourism of Catalonia, were some of the most relevant voices of the last edition.

Likewise, the winning and finalist initiatives were the stars of the fair, with the presentation of awards to the winners TUR4all, Albastar and COCEMFE, as the highlight. The FiturNext 2022 Report "Towards a more accessible tourism" was also presented, which can be downloaded here, and the FiturNext 2023 Challenge was announced: "How tourism can contribute to the regeneration of the natural environment", which will be launched in the coming months.

Following this roadmap, we bring FiturNext 2022 to a close. Stay tuned!