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07 February 2022

Awareness-raising, training and quality: the turning points for promoting more accessible tourism that stand out at the latest edition of FiturNext

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Finalist and winning initiatives, together with the sector experts who participated in the FiturNext 2022 programme, shared a common point during their presentations: to highlight the fact that accessibility is not an expense, but a benefit for all.

FiturNext, the FITUR Observatory dedicated to promoting good tourism practices that value sustainability, sponsored by Mastercard, concluded its latest edition on 22 January. After an extensive agenda of talks, round tables and reflections on how to promote inclusive tourism, the more than 40 panellists who took part over the four days underlined the route to follow to achieve tourism within everyone's reach: raising awareness of the problem, promoting training in this field and demonstrating that it is not a matter for a few, but a benefit for society as a whole.

Regarding this last point, the speakers agreed on the importance of highlighting the fact that accessibility benefits the entire population and increases the quality of the destination, both for travellers and residents. Specifically, according to their interventions, the best places to live, i.e. those where accessibility is guaranteed, lead to better places to visit.

At the same time, inclusive tourism also requires knowledge in this area. One of the key points pointed out by the experts and initiatives attending FiturNext 2022 was how accessibility training for tourism professionals translates into good practices that affect the entire population in aspects such as job opportunities, public policies and human rights. Therefore, raising visibility and awareness of social inclusion in the sector is synonymous with improvements in a person's life experience.

A programme of accessibility experts

The four days of the congress were the scene of numerous testimonies and activities that focused on how to approach accessibility in tourism. Some of the most relevant voices were those of Rosa Mª Ivars Llopis, deputy general director of Tourism of the Valencian Community, Igor Stefanovic, technical coordinator for Accessibility of the UNWTO Department of Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility, Miriam Díaz Herrera, councillor for Tourism, Trade, 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.

Committed initiatives, a report on replicable inclusive tourism and the FiturNext 2023 Challenge.

One of the main moments of the event was the presentation of awards to the winning initiatives and the special mention to the finalists of the FiturNext 2022 Challenge for their contribution to accessibility. TUR4all, and its collaborative platform of inclusive resources, Albastar, and its airline that offers every comfort to travellers with disabilities, and COCEMFE, and its "Holiday Programme" planned with guaranteed accessibility in all aspects of the trip, were the award-winning entities.

In addition, the FiturNext 2022 report "Towards a more accessible tourism" was presented with the keys, guidelines and lessons learned by the Observatory throughout the research. Finally, the FiturNext 2023 Challenge was announced: "How tourism can contribute to the regeneration of the natural environment", which will open the call for initiatives in the coming months.

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FITUR is one of the world's leading trade fairs for tourism events and a hub par excellence for the Ibero-American market. Organised by IFEMA MADRID, it will hold its 42nd edition from 19 to 23 January 2022 at the Spanish capital's Trade Fair Centre, with the support of its declaration by the Government as an Event of Exceptional Public Interest. Added to this is the significant support it receives from institutions, countries and destinations, hotel chains, agencies and tour operators, technology companies, suppliers, means of transport, etc., which make FITUR a great platform of reference for discovering new developments, proposals and future trends in terms of specialisation, technology and sustainability, and the essential event for the entire international tourism industry.

About Mastercard

Mastercard is committed to smart, sustainable and inclusive tourism that helps people, cities and the planet to thrive. To achieve this, they collaborate with industry actors, governments and communities by making their knowledge, digital tools and technology available to all.

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits people everywhere by making transactions secure, simple, smart and accessible. By using secure information and networks, building partnerships and putting passion into what we do, we enable our solutions and innovations to help users, financial institutions, governments and businesses realise their full potential. Our culture and everything we do inside and outside the company is driven by our Decency Quotient (DQ). With connections in more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a more sustainable world where everyone can benefit from priceless opportunities.

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