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19 January 2022

FiturNext 2022 kicks off with the presentation of the report "Towards a more accessible tourism" and four days focused on inclusion in the industry

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● The document, presented during the first day of FITUR, highlights accessibility as a driver of change to achieve a more egalitarian, just and sustainable society.

● Alex Villeyra, COO of Mabrian Technologies, and Alessandra Priante, Head of Europe at the UNWTO, are among the most prominent voices at this year's FiturNext who will participate in two round tables in the Mastercard space.

FiturNext, the FITUR observatory dedicated to promoting good tourism practices that value sustainability, sponsored by Mastercard, has launched four days that highlight the importance of contributing to accessibility in tourism as a roadmap for a fairer society. One of the most important aspects of the inauguration was the presentation of the report "Towards a more accessible tourism", a document that includes good inclusive practices and the main conclusions of the analysis carried out by the Observatory throughout this edition.

Francisco Rodríguez, expert consultant in tourism at Ideas for Change, the entity that has developed the research, has been in charge of explaining the key points of the report, highlighting that "accessibility goes beyond the elimination of barriers, the objective is tourism for all".

Celebration with the winning and finalist initiatives for their contribution to the 2022 Challenge.

One of the high points of the edition is the awards ceremony for the winning initiatives and the special mention to the finalists. Fran Sardon, President of Predif, promoter of TUR4all, Irene Civera, Cabin Crew Training Manager of Albastar, and Luca D'urso, Charter & ACMI Sales Manager, and Anxo Queiruga Vila, President of COCEMFE, were in charge of collecting the awards. Likewise, Rosa Mª Ivars Llopis, Deputy Director General of Tourism of the Valencian Community, and Patrick Torrent, Executive Director of the Catalan Tourism Agency, attended the ceremony on behalf of the finalist projects promoted by the two institutions.

The presentation was followed by a series of talks and discussions with the representatives. Miguel Carrasco, technical director of the Area of Universal Accessibility, Tourism and Inclusive Culture, and Myriam Arnaiz Caballero, Dr. Area of Personal Autonomy and Independent Living, discussed technology and accessibility. During the session, Carrasco pointed out that "ICTs increase the personal autonomy of people with disabilities and reduce their level of independence" and TUR4all tries to "highlight the value of specific and accurate information on the accessibility requirements that tourist resources meet, so that the person can decide whether or not that resource is accessible to him or her".

In parallel, Civera, Sagrario de la Azuela, Dr. Manager of Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos Castilla - La Mancha, and Rafel Oliver, general director of Albastar, explored the accessible tourism services available today. The three speakers agreed on the importance of receiving FiturNext recognition and Oliver pointed out that "Albastar has invested resources in staff training so that passengers with disabilities can travel with the facilities and comfort they need, so we are proud to set an example not only in Spain, but throughout Europe".

Finally, Queiruga held a roundtable discussion with two users of the Holiday Programme, an initiative that provides accessible and adapted travel promoted by COCEMFE. As mentioned by the president of the entity, "the programme aims to break down the barriers that still prevent our social group from accessing all the existing tourist offer" and added that "it is a motivation and a very important pillar for the improvement of the health, emotional and physical state of hundreds of people every year".

Four sessions with speakers specialised in accessibility

Throughout the day, the FiturNext stand also hosted a series of activities dedicated to how to promote inclusion in tourist destinations and promote resources that facilitate its incorporation. These included a dialogue between Tania Iglesias, from SEGITTUR, Miriam Díaz Herrera, Councillor for Tourism, Trade, Markets and Institutional Relations of the Santander City Council and experts from the Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council. Iglesias mentioned that "a Smart Tourist Destination must have accessibility as an essential requirement, enabling access to all types of products, services and cultural proposals regardless of the capabilities or conditions of the potential visitor".

This first day of FiturNext 2022, which will be held at the Ifema exhibition centre until Saturday 22 January, kicked off the event. Among the presentations, it is worth mentioning the round table debate between Mercè Luz Arqué, head of the Department of Culture and Leisure of the ONCE Foundation, Luigi Leporiere, accessibility expert, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), on "Challenges of accessibility in the 21st century" moderated by journalist Isabel Benítez.

In addition, experts from the tourism sector such as Alex Villeyra, COO of Mabrian Technologies, Alessandra Priante, Head of Europe of the UNWTO, and Hector Fernández Manchado, CEO of Turismo Lanzarote on sustainability in tourism and health and wellness tourism, will be present as part of the Mastercard space. There will also be a dialogue with Rosa Mª Ivars Llopis, Deputy Director General of Tourism of the Valencian Community, and Carme Rubió, Deputy Director General of Territorial Tourism Development of the Directorate General of Tourism of Catalonia, on accessibility as a way of improving the quality of a tourist destination. Javi Creus, founder of Ideas for Change, will give the presentation "What is a #DestinoQueMola?", with key reflections on how to promote fair tourism.

The report "Towards a more accessible tourism" is available in the attached file.

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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.

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