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Event transcripts

Nov 2015: WharfAbility - Disability Confident: Challenging Perceptions, London UK


WharfAbility is a network of networks founded in 2012 by a group of individuals involved with the disability and carer agenda within major firms based in Canary Wharf.  Their mission is to connect businesses and colleagues to share experiences and ideas, enabling them to increase their impact in the work place, and facilitate employment and job retention opportunities for disabled employees.


  • Yvonne O’Hara, Deputy Director of Disability Communications, Communications Directorate, Department of Works & Pensions
  • Kate Nash, OBE on ‘The Language of Disclosure’
  • Tab Ahmad, MD, EmployAbility on ‘Preparing for Recruitment’
  • Personal Stories
  • Simon Minty (Moderator), Founder & Director of sminty

Oct 2015 : Cultural Education Challenge, London UK

Oct 2015 : Information Development World, San Jose CA

October 01, 2015


Keynote: The Case for the Customer Experience
Brandon Schauer, CEO, Adaptive Path

Featured Presentations:
Unforgettable — The Neuroscience of Memorable Content
Dr. Carmen Simon, Executive Coach, Co-Founder, REXI Media

A Radical New Way to Control the English Language
Professor Emeritus, Practice of Rhetoric at Duke University

Transcription | Customer Experience Recognition Awards
Transcription | Andrew Bredenkamp, Founder & CEO, Acrolinx

October 02, 2015


Keynote: Us or Them? Who Wins the Customer Experience Tug of War
Lisa Welchman, President, Digital Governance Solutions, ActiveStandards

Featured Presentations:
Enhancing Customer Experiences With Intelligent Content
Robert J. Glushko, Adjunct Full Professor, University of California at Berkeley, School of Information

Content —The Show That Never Closes
Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, Content Marketing Institute

Sep 2015 : Fifth International Congress on Tourism for All, Madrid Spain

PDF : Fifth International Congress on Tourism for All

25 September 2015

>>  Good morning welcome, thanks for coming here this morning to participate in the round table on collaborative tourism, focused mostly on people with disabilities.  We have very reputable guests that I will briefly introduce and then we’ll move onto the Q and A session.

To my right Ivor Ambrose an independent consultant that focuses on disability issues.  To his right we have Katerina Papamichail a Greek architect who is specialised in the way architecture needs to adapt to fit with the needs of people with disabilities.  To her right we have Martyn Sibley, who is the co-editor of an online web page called disability horizons and he just put together a very interested company called Accommable like air B & B for people with disabilities, this is a recent project he launched, he was just telling me that there is over 100 premises or locations that have already signed up to be part of the web page, and I think this is really interesting, later on we will talk more about it.  And to his right we have Francis co Javier Aragon, he is the director of research team of tourism, leisure and water environments of the university Camilo Jose Cela, and connected through Skype we have a representative of lonely planet.  As you know lonely planet is the most important publishing house for travel books worldwide.  His name is Martin Heng and we’ll start with him, so he can tell us, via Skype from Australia, so he can tell us about the challenges that the different travel publications have such as lonely planet to respond to the needs of people with disabilities.  It would also be interesting for him to tell us if in lonely planet they have an initiative to publish something specific pertaining to people with the disability.  Martin, you have the floor.

>>  I’m very happy to be with you, even if only via Skype, I wish I were there in person but unfortunately that’s not possible.  Yes, I’ve been running the project for lonely planet for the last 18 months or so, which is a project on inclusive tourism or accessible travel.  And we have indeed published one proof of concept book to our home city of Melbourne, called accessible Melbourne.  We published that about November last year, since then we’ve had more than 11,000 downloads.  So I think that tells us that there is a great demand for this information.

I think anybody who is traveling with a disability will tell you that the most difficult thing to travel with a disability is access to tourist information.  That is lonely planet’s business, the provision of information.  So my goal is for lonely planet to pursue that mission, but in a field of inclusive tourism, so to actually provide that information that is assisting people with a disability to travel more and to travel with greater confidence.

Travel more, because I think it’s been shown by a number of studies that if people with a disability had more trustworthy or access to more trustworthy, or trusted more in the information they could find they would actually travel more.  So it’s a question of people with a disability needing to have more reliable information before they start their journey.

It’s more difficult for someone who has specific needs to travel spontaneously, so there is obviously a great deal of planning that goes into any trip before it’s made.  So I’m hoping to produce another guide, this time to Rio in time for the olympics and Paralympics next year, that will be my second publication.

In the meantime I’m just about to publish a very long list of online resources for travel with a disability.  I think there’s something like 500 websites that people can use to find more information, and that includes local government, government, NGOs, travel agents and personal blogs as well as general information websites.  I’m hoping to publish that within the next month as a free PDF.

I’m also — I have also a memorandum of understanding with Ivor Ambrose of Enat and there’s a strong possibility that the same information can be published by the Enat website as well as part of their resources page.

>>  Thank you very much Martin.  We’ll keep in touch during the round table.  I would really like it if Martin could now introduce his project, I think you’re going to play a video right?  Could you please let us know about the activities that you under take and what you do as co-director of this online publication, disability horizons and your new company, your new start up that you’re launching?

>>  Thank you for the introduction.  In terms of the video that will be playing behind me, it will just give a bit of a visual element of some of the things that I and the guys at disability horizons have been doing in the past few years, so there’s myself and my business partner who couldn’t be here today, he is in Barcelona doing some work, but you can see some of the nice photos that we’ve collected over the past years.

The general background of the projects that I now run is that, I think for a long while the world was less accessible.  I think obviously as we are here today there’s a lot more work to do.  It’s by no means solved and everybody is perfect for disabled people.  But I also think it’s important to look back, say 10 or 20 years and say the progress that has been made.

So when we look at tourism, the actual products and the supply side, actually it’s very good to facilitate disabled people to get out there and travel.  So I had to learn that personally, how I manage with my wheelchair and my care needs, to get out there and see the world.  And as I started blogging about it, it became apparent that many other people didn’t think it was possible, and they were just simply very inspired by the fact that someone like them was able to get out there and do it.  Obviously as Martin was talking about, from lonely planet, the next part after you’re inspired and eager to get out there and see the world, you need information.  So I think both disability horizons, my blog, it’s all about inspiring, the demand side, for disabled people to want to go traveling, to feel confident and believe it’s possible.  But also to know how, the nuts and bolts and logistics, and I think the fact that we’ve grown so quickly in four years, shows that there was a big need for this type of positive message.  And we have between 30 and 40,000 readers every month on the magazine and they are the writers, we don’t have one or two or a handful of journalists, every article we publish is from our community.  I think that’s another unique point of what we offer on the market.

>>  I think there’s a video that you were going to present, right?

>>  It was showing while I was talking, it’s just for visual for the audience, but it’s been playing behind me I believe.

>>  Okay, thank you very much.  To my right I have Ivor, I would really like it if you could please present what you do, but why don’t we ask you a question directly.  Please let us know if there is any relationship between affordability and accessibility?  The most affordable services tend to be less accessible, what do you think about that statement?

>>  Ladies and gentlemen good morning, my name’s Ivor Ambrose the managing director of Enat.  The work that we do is really much more focused at the moment on the supply side of accessible tourism, and for the past few years in fact.  We’ve just, as Martin Heng said earlier, we’ve signed a memorandum of understanding with lonely planet and we’re also working with Martyn over here, so we’re beginning to focus more on the demand side.  That’s where you really have to start looking, at how the supply fits the demand?  And that’s where the economics really come in.

So your question about how we can make accessible tourism affordable and whether it’s always going to be more expensive to provide accessible services, this is the question that we’re addressing directly with our suppliers and our members of Enat, who are trying to develop good practice examples, good practices in their work, that are as affordable as possible.  But we don’t see a parallel market for the disabled in tourism.  We avoid this kind of concept completely, we reject that concept.  We believe in mainstreaming accessibility into all goods and services for people with disabilities, including tourism.

I have a few notes here that we prepared, a slide presentation, but we couldn’t have it running at the same time, so I’ll just — I’d like to give a little bit of information about the supply side of accessible tourism in Europe, because we have done a major study for the European Commission on this, I think you will be interested to hear how the supply and performance of accessible tourism is in Europe today.

The critical thing about, when we talk about accessible tourism at this conference and all of the meetings, but the critical thing is to identify actually what is accessible and how much of our tourism supply is accessible, so the commission came to us with this question and we did a huge investigation, lasting about 18 months, to count the number of accessible tourism suppliers in Europe and to measure the performance of these so called accessible suppliers.

We reached a very large number actually, we found that there are about 320,000 tourism suppliers who claim to be accessible, that is they’ve put their information about accessibility into an accessibility information scheme or a website where you can get this information, which is all important, or we also developed a data collection tool to collect this information first hand from suppliers who wanted to register as accessible suppliers.

Now this quite a technical issue, how to describe accessibility, I’m sorry we can’t show you the details of our method, but it’s important to say that when we came to these results, that in Europe — and this is the European Union 28 countries — we only found verifiable information about accessibility for these 320,000 suppliers, that represents 9 percent of all the tourism suppliers in Europe.  So there are 3 million tourism suppliers in Europe who are not dealing with accessibility, not advertising any kind of accessibility for their services.

By 2020 looking at the studies of the increase in demand which will come with the aging population, we know that another 1 and a half million suppliers in Europe should be making their services accessible to cope with the increasing demand.  So there’s a very large demand for accessible tourism supply, and quite a low supply.  You can say it’s actually a case of market failure.  The market is not responding as markets should, where the suppliers rush in because they see an opportunity.  They are looking the other way.  And this is a problem that we’re trying to address by improving the quality and accessibility of information and making it easier for people to, for suppliers to put this information online.  So for the European Commission we’ve created a website, called Pantou .org, and this is the European Commission’s directory on accessible tourism supply.  Katerina is going to tell you a little more about that so I’ll pass to her and she’ll explain a little bit about the technicalities of this, because it’s very important to get accurate, reliable and objective information about the services.

>>  It’s a pity I can’t show you some of the slides so you can have a more direct impression how the website works, but I’ll try and describe it.  So Pantou is a Greek word that means every where, so we thought it was a good word for this website.  It identifies all kinds of supplier who is provide all kinds of accessible tourism services.  So we tried to gather as much as we could, so many suppliers as we could in that website.

The accessibility of the supplier services is audited either by an international, national, regional accessibility information scheme, or by a Pantou access statement, which is provided by the supplier, which is a self assessment procedure.  So this directory is funded by the European Commission as Ivor said and supports the tourism SMEs.

It includes over 70 types of services, such as cultural heritage, accommodation, equipment rental, tourist guides, all kinds of businesses around the, that they consist, they make the accessibility chain.  And it covers all customer types and access needs.

By now already over 500 suppliers already registered and it’s free of charge.  So we have cooperating accessibility information schemes which are the Pantou partners, and the suppliers that they are members of this accessibility information schemes, on the profile page, they link the information to this information scheme.

For those suppliers that are not members of an information scheme, we try to collect very important, very essential and as much as we can more objective and reliable information by creating a template for a self assessment procedure for the Pantou access statement we call it, and it has two forms.  Form A is a template with structured questions, so we can gather the essential information.  There’s a form B which is a help text, which is explaining and guiding — explaining what kind of information is needed and guiding the suppliers to feel in the form, because it’s a self assess procedure and we want to guide them and have the best information we can.

So this access statement is written by the provider and when you go to the profile page of each supplier you see the name of the supplier, then you see the information, where is providing the information, so its linked either to the access statement or to the information scheme.  The access statement has section 1, which is for all suppliers, and it includes the general information.  Information how the accessibility is — about how accessibility is provided, in what kind of formats, about services provided for each supplier, and also regarding the staff training.

There’s also a section too which is mostly for these suppliers, that they have a facilities that they want to describe the physical accessibility of their facility.  So the supplier that has a facility and describes the accessibility through these questions, it gives crucial information about also dimensions, about the areas that are not accessible or accessible, dimensions about bathrooms or corridors, so we try to get accurate information that is possible for the customer to check and choose if it’s suitable for him.

Because here I want to say that we can say that a premises or facility is accessible, but for whom?  We can say it’s accessible for wheelchair users, but we know that the individual users, they have different abilities.  An athlete can make a steeper run, but not the same for a wheelchair user or an older person, we want the information personalised so the customer can see or choose if it’s good for him or not, if he can deal with a difficulty or if he can not deal with the difficulty.  So this is what we tried to do with this.

So there is an added value in the Pantou access statement, because it raises the awareness of the supplier about the issues that are important to be described to the visitors.  Our team gives feedback and advises also on the statements.  So if they are missing something we advise them to go ahead and correct something, or be better on their accessibility.  The suppliers also can publish the Pantou access statement, as accessibility information on their own website and aggregated Pantou data can be used continuously to support policy development and decision-making.

Also the Pantou access statement is offered as an open source for all tourism suppliers who offer accessible services anywhere in the world.  It may be copied also and used as it is for educational and professional purposes on condition of mentioning the name Pantou access statement and the link to the Pantou directory.

So concluding, the Pantou directory provides a standardised framework for describing accessible tourism services.  The customers can find accessible tourism suppliers across the whole of Europe in one website and it also connected visitors, suppliers, simulating business growth and development.  And lastly, it enables the creation of accessible supply chains and collaboration between suppliers to create accessible tourist destinations, the suppliers can see on one website, they can find each other, cooperate and maybe a destination can find all the suppliers and work together to create a destination.

>>  Thank you very much Katerina.  Francisco Javier, one question — Francisco is a doctor in law, he is well acquainted with all the standards, so please let us know what are the challenges that collaborative economies facing this, start ups and new companies that revolve around collaborative economies, what are the challenges regarding finding accommodation in private locations, private rooms?  Because is there an issue with limits of legality, could you briefly tell us what the situation is like right now?

>>  Yes but first and foremost I would like to thank the organisers for having invited me to join you to talk about this issue, which is so interesting right now, and not for us but also for society.

And also to talk about accessibility, because this type of business is also very important currently.  First, I would like to start by mentioning how this type of collaborative business came to life.  Well it came to life with a crisis.  The crisis created a situation that promoted that people came together to travel in a different manner and in a more affordable nature too.

So this business model was created and we see many platforms such as air B & B and blah blah car for cars, and this is called collaborative consumption or collaborative economy.  What does this mean?  Let’s think about what this is.  We need to talk about the concept first.

It means collaborative consumption is a system based on something.  On what?  On sharing first and foremost.  And exchanging.  What do we exchange?  Goods and services between individuals.  Okay, so how do we do it?  By using modern technologies, through digital platforms, which are the ones that we have been mentioning.

What do these digital platforms do?  They put in contact one person with another so that they can come to an agreement as to the activity that they want to undertake.  For instance they might want to share a care or want to stay in a room or develop a guide or go to a restaurant, there’s endless possibilities but that’s the key, basic concept.  And we must also say that this is a travel alternative.

There by we can state that this is a true change in the way we travel, a smart alternative that offers many possibilities.  It is more affordable, which is one of the main goals also for the people that choose this type of services, for accommodation, for transportation, because it facilitates individual contact between people who are at the same place and they do it through the internet.

So in collaborative tourism the key issue is to share.  Then this type of approach boomed, and many ideas sprouted, but the problem is how do we regulate this?  And this is the problem that we’re facing now.  Regulated or formal companies, such as hotels, hostels, pensions, campings, they need to be legally compliant, they have a series of licences that they have to obtain in order to carry out their activities.  This type of collaborative tourism doesn’t really require, or it’s not demanded to have this type of licence.  So what is the issue here?

There is a difference.  Some have to comply with some requirements and some others apparently have to fulfill only minimum requirements.  So we need to legalise all this and to set a framework for it.  So what did the Spanish government decide?  Well they decided to create a law so that the regions have the competence to regulate this.  Some regions had put together regulations already and some regulations are not sufficient, some are, and some are still not regulated.  So this is an issue, because you might want to stay at a private home, but what happens if you have a claim?

Well the neighbours might complain and there might be a claim in.  We need to regulate this.  What happens with the competition?  Well competitors say they are paying taxes and others are not paying taxes.  So this gives rise to a current discussion about the regulatory framework.  The regulatory framework that needs to protect consumers, but let’s not forget that collaborative tourism doesn’t really protect consumers.  You cannot go to the DG on consumption at the regional level and say okay I had this problem, I wanted to share this and it was not functioning, it was not working or there was a diver that was supposed to pick me up and he or she didn’t show up, I want to stay at a private home and it didn’t fit the description that I read when I hired it or booked it, so that’s difficult, because administrative means do not offer the type of platform that has been created for formal businesses, so customers are therefore not so well protected.

We need to improve the competence of this sector.  And it’s a market, it’s there and it’s been demanded for society.  But it needs to be regulated.  We need to issue standards and this is really complicated.  It’s difficult, but I think the best standards will be the ones that don’t really benefit anyone in particular.  I mean we need to strike the right balance for both sides.  And just a fortnight ago in the W T O they were already talking about this issue and they said that this sector still had to come up with solutions for this, and the W T O encouraged society to come up with solutions that could be progressively save guarding more and more consumer’s rights to provide quality guarantees that will in an equal way, regulate both sides.  Because they need to be regulated and he have been is entitled to do this right and work along the same rights.

>>  Thank you very much Javier.  Martyn I’m going to ask you now to talk to us about Accomable.  You said before that platforms such as air B & B approach the issues of accessibility for people with disabilities as a secondary matter, they focus on other issues, and Martyn thinks that people with a disability are the ones that create — that should create their own markets and their own start ups, this is how Accomable was created, the company that he is creating.  Please let us know how did you do it, what are the challenges that you are facing?

>>  Okay, I talked earlier a little more about the positive messaging that we have put through the blog and the magazine for the last five years or so, so I think we felt we wanted to add more value to our community, so it wasn’t just a consumer platform where people would come on and just read about things, but it would be solving more of a problem, so we looked at many different areas of — we didn’t just start with travel, it could have been something for employment, or for finding care support, there were many parts of life that we felt that this new collaborative sharing economy with digital tools, we could use to solve.  But of course you have to focus, I think we’ve learned if you try to be everything to everybody it will fail.  You have to start with one thing and do it really well and then later you can look to diversify.

So having looked at positively doing an app to look at access to local bars or restaurants or various other travel areas, we felt in the end that there was a need, just like air B & B solves for the mainstream, but having looked on it and some other websites, literally the person that owns the property can just tick a box that says its accessible and there’s no verification beyond of what that means, and if it would be suitable for different types of impairments.  So we felt air B & B was failing with its services towards disabled people.

So with Accomable, developmentally with the website, my business partner last year learned to code because we had a few failed attempts with agencies and there are a lot more costs with agencies as well, so we built the website in-house, which we’re very proud of, it’s not an easy thing just to know how to do that.  So he’s done a great job there, and because we had such a vast community from the magazine, that meant that when we launched the product there were many people wanting to use it, so I think as we talked earlier, the demand is high as I was saying, the issue, the challenge we have even today is how we find the properties, and we can verify that they are accessible and how we share that information, how we promote it.

So we’re learning new things every day, that’s the life of a start up.  I would say sometimes we fail as well.  But we embrace the failure as a way, an opportunity to learn and try new things.  So I feel that the path is very good, hearing about the challenges of regulatory — it’s a difficult debate, because of course consumers should be protected, first and foremost, I would never disagree, consumers have to be protected, but I wonder if, with the sharing economy, the community is the way that we safeguard?  Because overtime, if a driver doesn’t collect you from the airport, or you go to a property and it’s not accessible, of course that may ruin your holiday, I’m not making light of that, but in the end I believe the market can find the equilibrium where the reviews from the community will ensure good people, good businesses, good supply will always be doing a good job and disabled people want to use them.

So for me I think I would look more for the power of community and sharing reviews than a regular framework, which I would worry would paralyse our business, because if we have it have an insurance policy at air B & B, they make millions of pounds now, so they have an insurance policy to protect their consumers, but if it was regulatory that we had that today, we would be out of business, because we haven’t got the funding to do much more than feed ourselves and run the website.  So I think we have to have a balance here about enabling new ideas and new people, new projects, to grow and to find new solutions, but still protecting the consumer at the same time.

>>  Thank you.  Katerina as you are here, an architect, there is something which is very interesting in your field, which is the concept of universal design.  Universal design is when you think about building a building, everything has to be accessible what does that mean?  That it will fit with everyone?  That it will have an extra cost which is minor, but that will attract any kind of tourism.

It’s something really difficult, it’s a huge challenge.  I think that some countries, the most developed countries here are taking a lot of steps in that site.  But you as an architect, could you explain a little more what’s the situation of the universal design?

>>  Thank you that’s a very good question and I always try to say what I think about universal design.  So for me universal design is a way, first of all for me it’s just common sense.  It’s just understanding the needs of the people, our needs.

So universal design is addressed to everybody, and accessibility comes from universal design.  If we follow the universal design concept we create accessible environments for all.  Of course we have to say for specific target groups there are some very special things we have to add above, beyond the universal design, we have to admit that.  But most things are addressed to all the people.

So if we plan from the very beginning with the universal design concept in mind we never have extra costs.  And following the universal design principles most of the times accessibility is invisible, we just create environments that are easy to manage.  They’re comfortable, they’re very safe, but you can’t see it’s targeted for somebody, you can’t see something specific, but only in specific cases.  And when also we have to add something in existing infrastructure that it was designed with no concept of universal design, then we might have extra costs, we can’t avoid that.  The solution of the ramp, it provides access, but it’s not universal design.  Universal design is level access.  But when we have to cope with environments over steps or for some reasons we can’t avoid to have level access, we provide a ramp, which provides accessibility.

So universal design for me, it’s very easy to follow, if architects, they get this education, and this training — and this is the very important issue.  That the architects, the technical people, they don’t get really this education.  There was a study in universities and we saw that very few universities provide this universal design, design for all procedures, they learn about this, and sometimes it’s just a specific course that they might choose and I think this is where the problem lies, that the people, the technical people and architects, they should learn, so it will be part of the culture when they design.

>>  I’d like to ask Ivor and Francisco, as Martyn has the start up with such success I’d like to give him some advice from your standpoint, what should he bear in mind mainly, to get greater success in his company?

>>  Good question.  Martyn has put me in an advisory board for his Accomable app, so am I allowed give tips in public?  Okay we took a look at the first draft of the website to see how it was looking.  To be honest we came back to the points Katerina was raising, the information you can give has to be accurate and reliable and objective as possible.  It also has to be updated on a regular basis because things can change.  And so when designing your communication tools, your website principally and the way you gather your information, the way you present it to people, it has to meet these basic standards.  Actually what we’re doing with Enat now is developing a framework so that we can actually identify amongst the many information schemes for tourism, which ones are doing it in a good way and which ones let’s say are doing it in a not so good way.

So those that are meeting the requirements of objective information and allowing the customer to go right down into the information and find out about technical details that would probably bore most people, everybody needs to get this technical information.  Another recommendation could be his website so use the Pantou access statement, offer it to the providers and say here’s an easy way for to you get educated about accessibility and show it, so in fact link back to Pantou site as well so you can join up together.  This is the collaborative framework we’re talking about, that anybody who is developing an app or a website, that needs to use this quantifiable and objective information, they can use the access statement as a tool for bringing the information to the customer.

The other thing I would recommend is that Martyn should just keep on doing it with the enthusiasm that he and his team have.  They have a great community behind them.  He is being pushed along by a wave of tens of thousands of people, in fact I don’t think he can stop.  So let’s just congratulate him on that and good luck for the future.

>>  Well first of all what I was saying, congratulations, I wish you the best, I think business is important, entrepreneurs are important.  But implementing, enriching that market niche, in order to get there information must be accurate and not give room for confusion, so that you know when you’re going to hire or contract a service, that is a service you are going to be given.  Otherwise you get problems, and that’s when logically, afterwards comes the problem that person will be scammed and then you’re losing a client, because let’s not be mistaken, tourism with this kind of business, it’s ear to mouth how it works.  So being accurate.

Then being attractive in what you’re offering and differentiation to the rest of the competition, that is also fundamental.  And also awareness.  I think that we have to raise awareness amongst society about this kind of tasks and activities.  In the collaborative framework, which is just starting Andy merging, it is very complicated to know, due to the wide variety of products that exists, and as this is not regulated you don’t really know how they work and what is the sensitivity they have for housing or cars or vehicles.

But very possibly overtime this will adapt and I think that maybe I disagree with you, I do think that there must be standards or norms to guarantee precisely, to avoid confusion, so that you provide what you are telling.  Then awareness, so that what’s being offered is services of collaborative tourism, but that they are open to society.  Open to sensitivity of people, and that’s little by little starting to step up the ladder, and we have now problems and we have no norms, so it will be even more so important that we get services that are adapted for all.

>>  Thank you.  Martyn I’d like to ask you something, out of all the places you have travelled to, can you give us an example of where have you been treated the best, which have been the places that were best thought for disabled people, and why?  I mean an example, if you could just tell us what’s the place that you would recommend, the place you’ve liked the most, the kind of model or the ideal place or places and why?

>>  To give one country is difficult, but I will explain the reason it’s a difficult answer to give.  The developed world shall we say, so we’re talking probably more US, Canada, Europe and Australia, New Zealand, obviously other countries too, but I’ve been to most of those places and that is because I imagine because of their economic ability their infrastructure is more accessible.  When you look at buildings or transport, it does cost money to adapt housing where 100 years ago, when for different reasons disabled people were not considered, and I agree with Katerina, universal design is the future, but we still have to deal with certain situations that exist now, which is when you’re talking about the ramps wasn’t it, that there are ways to make things more accessible.

So I feel that the developed world has the means to do that, which means getting around and seeing the places as better.  So from that point of view you might say a better experience.

When I have been to other places with maybe less economic ability, it’s very difficult with this heavy electric wheelchair to go everywhere, but I find that the people’s attitude is far more open and warm and want to help you, so I think there’s a general difference there in terms of the richer countries have all the access but the people are less engaging of disabled people.  Massive generalisation but one I have observed.  But one place I love is California.  That’s partly because of our start up aspirations, in California the sky is the limit.  You can have an idea, roll with it, people support you, there’s access to capital, the starvation of money for start ups is what kills them so one place for accessibility and a general positive ethos would be California.

>>  So let’s go back to the 60s with the California dream.  I’d like to finish but I’d like the speakers to make a short summary of what they think will be the major challenge of what we’re talking about now.  Ivor could you start?

>>  I would say the challenge is ahead of all of us, we’re getting older, you know about the aging population, and from our studies we also know that for the market that requires accessible tourism, actually two thirds of the market is people over 65 years of age.  So this is coming to all of us, and this is why suppliers need to gear up and get used to the idea that they’re serving a much wider market.  They should be serving a much wider market, and as we get older, accessibility has to be on their agenda.  So that’s the main issue about the future.  But for every one of us personally, I hope that everybody can fulfill their dreams of traveling where they want to go and when they want to go, with whom they want to go, with less difficulty tomorrow than they had today.

>>  I think I will give a review of the architect then! What I said before, I think the goal is to get more awareness and more information about what we say universal design.  Because this is what is providing accessibility.  And I truly believe the decision makers, the governments, the destinations, they should focus on that, on the information, the training, the awareness of the professionals.  So they provide accessibility in an easy way, because it’s part of their culture.  So then not only in the built environment, because universal design follows the way the information is given, the way you provide your services is a whole concept about everything, so if we provide — if we provide this training and this education to people, we will have a better base to build up the accessible tourism.

>>  I would finish my saying I’m ever the optimist, I feel that the progress is moving at a good pace.  I feel that we just need to bring supply and demand together more.  I think for the past years it’s been in two different silos, you hear many people not just in tourism but other industries, they say we’ve spent lots of money to make this more accessible, then no disabled people come.  They don’t think why?  It’s because they are not communicating that they have already made their place accessible.  But we as disabled people don’t know that they’re there.  I also feel that disabled people have a responsibility to be proactive, to find their own solutions, take ownership of the problem.  I think if we have the two sides coming together more, then there will be a day where I can go and book a holiday spontaneously the way someone without a disability can.

>>  My idea is that we should promote harmony of solutions between the parties of course, but also if we’re going to regulate at the level of regions so that there are no differences.  So in order to eradicate all those differences and different positions, I know it’s difficult, and complicated, we must get unified or harmonized solutions.  And accessibility is a challenge, yes there is a market niche, collaborative tourism can facilitate this kind of tourism, vehicles, housing, so that they are accessible.  We must facilitate these activities and that is pending too.  We have to share, exchange and also share with owners and be in a company with them — because for example I do nautical tourism and nautical awareness, the greatest satisfaction for me when we take kids that are ten or 12 years of age and they can not see, to see them feel the water and the fun they’re having, for us that’s a huge satisfaction.  So we must be aware and follow that line.

>>  Okay thank you.  Thank you to the speakers for your very interesting contributions.  Thank you for coming.  Thank you to you all for your attention.  And we will now have a very short pause and we’ll continue with the congress, thank you.

>>  Sorry I was not aware we were starting already, I was taking my last few notes! Thank you very much for being here, good morning, and let’s now tackle a topic that I’ve always been personally interested in, and today on this occasion it’s quite suitable, because we have a municipal representative of the town hall of Madrid, we have a representative of the government of Spain, we have someone representing the European Union and also we go international, because we have an international representative from Ecuador.

The general title is active politics for the promotion of tourism and technologies for all.  But I would like to pinpoint something if you allow me?  I’d like to tell you an anecdote, a brief story that two of us participated in, Tatiana and I participated in it, a couple of years ago in the university there was a course on tourism for all, and one of the conclusions — and also I think one of the biggest successes that that course achieved, was that they eliminated so to speak tourism for ghettos that idea, tourism for people that travel with animals, for wine tasting, no, it was tourism for all.  Tourism to become a broader word that would encompass all social spheres and this is very important for a country like Spain where tourism has such a high importance.  We all know what this means for the national industry.

We need to be fully aware of the fact that this tourism needs to encompass everybody, without focusing too much on the peculiarities.  And this is an additional factor.  Now we include new technologies in tourism to Foster that fact activity.  I think that’s interesting.  I will briefly introduce the panelists and I will ask a question to each one of them, they will answer the question, I will ask a second question then we’ll go to conclusions.  First and foremost, to the furthest right corner, we have Mr Luis Cueto, general coordinator of the town hall of Madrid — sorry, I will simplify their curriculums, we’re more interested in what they have to say rather than what they did previously.  Secondly Tatiana Sanchez, we have already coincided in some fora that have tackled this issue, she is deputy director of development sustainability into the field of tourism, the state Secretariat of the Minister of industry, energy and tourism.  Sorry Tatiana Martinez not Sanchez, sorry that was a bit of a glitch.  By her side we have Rosa, she has been working in the field of disability for quite a long time, she was working at the European Parliament level and I was working at the same time in the Spanish Parliament, so we really advocate this issue, in this case what we are trying to do is fit together disability and tourism.  I think her participation will be very enriching.  And most importantly the conclusions that she might be able to escalate to the European Parliament.  And to my right we have Rafael Castillo he is the main advisor of Setedis, today we live in an acronym world I did ask him to break it down for me to know what it means, it is the technical Secretariat for inclusive management of disability in the Republic of Ecuador.

So in the case of Luis — sorry we did agree on the questions we were going to ask but they will answer freely nevertheless.  So Luis, what are the policies regarding technology and tourism that are currently being developed in the town hall of Madrid?

>>  Thank you and good morning everybody.  Well the most important entity at the town hall level is called Madrid Destino, it’s a legal entity and it’s most important tool is the portal which is  There we offer plenty of information and we also have an online platform so that professionals can establish businesses, not just so they can get information, but rather so that they can have an active business in there.  And we did have a contribution of funds at the European level, and we managed to Foster many tourist destinations here, for instance at our main square.  And it’s been refurbished so it can be accessible, we offer information using tablets, and there’s many different ways now to accessibility about the things that we can do in Madrid.

The second most important point is that kilometre 0, the most important kilometre in Madrid, which is going to be refurbished.  Right now it’s really calm, not too lively and we want to cause a revolution there.  So what we are going to do is offer associations, companies and sectors to use the former mail stands, where they used to deal with letters and what not, what they are going to do is install a live market, this is what we want to convert this area to.  Because that area is right now not too exciting.  And in 2016 we will lend for free some mobile devices to tourists, who we hope will return them when they finish their trip to Madrid and information will be pre-loaded on those telephones, so they can have access to it.  And it will be about Madrid.

Also we will establish a new advertising scheme on the streets, called Mupis, what we did was to do a call for tender to have a new approach for it and the two most important companies worldwide have been part of this tender, and right now we will be able, on this basis we will be able to offer active information, it won’t be static any more.  And Madrid citizens and visitors to Madrid will be able to get close to information from Madrid.  You will be able to access information about job positions in the maybe hood and many other things.

One of the things the current team is doing is trying to extend everything so we don’t just focus on downtown Madrid, so that people visit the palace of the Ducas, we want it to be part of the city, everybody feels it’s in the outskirts and they just visit the museums, so we want to include the other areas into the visitor area.

Finally we want to place Madrid on the map.  Our concept is Madrid is not really on the map for information visitors, Barcelona is on the map but Madrid is really not considered for visitors and I think it’s not considered because of negative points, because there have been issues of malfunctioning, we want to portray the real image.  Because right now the image people have is quite grey, so we want to change that.

>>  Thank you very much Luis.  Let’s move on to Tatiana Martinez, I said it right now, and I really regret that because we’ve met quite a few times already, a very significant time was when we met in the course that summer and it was very interesting because we came up with this name.  Tatiana, has there been an increase in demand in accessible services based on this new policies?  Now everybody is aware of the fact that this is something for all, not for the people that have the most difficulties, and this might be my personal impression, if you can offer access to the people who have the most difficulties then you are offering access for everybody.

I mean lowering the sidewalks, or having signaling for the blind is something that we all consider that should be done, as a standard.

>>  Hello and good morning everybody, thank you for the introduction, it is true one year ago we did meet in the university in the summer course and we were talking about accessible tourism for all.  We were trying to break down the definition of tourism per se and what it meant, tourism for all.  I’d rather talk about tourism for all rather than accessible tourism.

Lately we have perceived both me personally and when I walk in the state Secretariat as an official and when I was also in the general Ministry, I did perceive that there is a higher demand for this service because society is moving, and I’m not talking about society from the standpoint of a person who doesn’t have a business, I’m talking about the business society too.  There is an increasing demand, thanks to actions like the one that we are being part of today, there is an increasing awareness of the need to get involved in what we call tourism for all, preferably.  Bearing in mind that tourism is a cultural and social phenomenon that is linked up with the people, with a movement of people from one place to another, from their homes to a destination, for leisure or for professional reasons.

If we add to the concept of tourism the concept of accessible tourism which is a condition that it must meet, using goods, services, and so on.  So that they can fulfill the needs of a person, then in that sense we will talk about accessible tourism.  But I’d rather talk about tourism for all.  We perceive this demand from a social standpoint, from a local standpoint and from an economic standpoint.  From a social standpoint the right to equality of equal opportunity rather, not equality among people, but equal opportunity to access a business like its tourism, and the right to non discrimination and social integration for all, and access to all the activities comprised in leisure, or maybe in professional tourism.

In order to comply with all those needs, with quality, we are doing attempts and projects in tourism state Secretariat.  I wouldn’t like to talk about the comprehensive regulation, we have a royal decree, we have national laws, we have of course the charter of human rights, and apart from complying with all the accessible legislation from the standpoint of tourism for all, we consider it should be taken as a business opportunity for companies.  From the Ministry of industry, energy and tourism we established close partnerships with the private sector.  Of course we have public public ventures, but also public private ventures, I think it’s important for the sector to offer accessible tourism for all.

This is something that’s portrayed on many policies that are under way to improve the quality of services, of tools of procedures and also premises, hotels, because there is a demand and we have realised that tourism amounts to over 10 percent of direct GDP and apparently 15 percent of undirect GDP, it’s the first economic industry in Spain and we must take care of it.  And let’s remember that in Spain approximately 8 percent, I don’t know the accurate figure, but I think it’s about 8 percent of people who have a disability in total in Spain, Rosa maybe you can let me know maybe if figures are higher in Europe, but from our standpoint this is a very important number of customers that we must bear in mind.

So I don’t know if I managed to answer your question.  I can continue talking nevertheless.

>>  I have a second round of questions but let’s finish this first.  Thank you very much Tatiana, it’s worth highlighting the important figures you mentioned, because over 10 percent of our national wealth is provided by tourism, so we must really take care of this industry and take it into account.  Now I give the floor to my colleague and also friend, we really have close contact so that we can convey issues to the European level, because they are beyond the Spanish scope, we try to escalate to European level.  But I think you and I started talking about accessible tourism for all and I’m really glad that you’re here with us, I really hope that a few of the conclusions that are transferred to Europe is that the if we join forces we can do much more.  So my question is, what’s the differentiating factor of accessible tourism policies in Europe, vis-a-vis the rest of the world?

>>  Thank you, well first thank you Paco and thank you colleagues in this panel and thanks Once for having invited me to the congress of tourism and technology for all.  This is a very relevant topic, we have had many fora like this in Brussels and outside of Brussels, because this is a core topic both because of the impact it has on tourism and equal opportunities.

One of the issues we discussed at European level is accessibility, but we don’t just talk about accessibility for disabled but accessibility in general, it’s a crosscutting issue and I would highlight that even though Europe is slow in their decision-making, because 28 countries need to come to agreement, and three entities, but when we reach the conclusions they have a very important worldwide impact.

I would like to highlight issue that is go along these lines, the issue of accessibility.  Back in 2014 we held discussions for financial perspectives 2014-2020 and there we hit a first landmark.  Specially due to pressure and participation of organisations on disability forum and Once, structural funds and cohesion funds had an ex ante continue on them — if they don’t apply parameters on accessibility for all they won’t get these funds, but that’s a turning point.  And it’s also a calling point that all states bear in mind accessibility.

We’re talking about employment, the digital era and all levels of our life.  We’re talking about accessibility also in sports and tourism is an inter-disciplinary issue, because it entails culture, heritage, business, sports — it encompasses everything.  We’re talking about alternative tourism too.  Not just sun and beach tourism.  It needs to encompass all the different spheres of life.

We also worked on digital accessibility which is something that links up to this congress, to new information technologies too.  We just passed a law on accessibility in web pages so there is no discrimination in place for disabled groups so that they can access the digital world, so that contents can be easily reached.  It also entails accessibility as a whole to internet and web pages.

The commission is about to issue something, actually I visited the Commissioner recently together with Enat and Once, it will be a standard or regulation that will set up a minimum level that all Member States will have to adapt to.  This was something that was supposed to be issued in 2012, it was something the previous commissioner already announced but it was difficult to push it forward because it was crosscutting and when I visited the new commissioner he said they were lagging behind because the previous draft really focused on commercial issues and business issues, they really wanted to highlight the social side of it.  But by year end apparently they will issue this European act, it’s one of the demands placed by the UN in the recent meeting that they held in Geneva, they requested the EU to issue this act on accessibility.  It’s something that we are expecting to arise from the UN Convention too.

We also talked a lot about the European parking card.  I asked the commission many questions about this, because in Europe each Member State and Spain for instance, they have different regulations at the town hall level for this parking card, and therefore regulations are very different from one state to another, from one Member State to another, so we want Europe to dictate a minimum level, so that when we cross a border we don’t really have to reconsider the new requirements when we travel across countries.

Also Europe has established an accessible city award, it’s granted on a yearly basis.  Spain got it on many occasions.  This last year La Coruna got it, Budapest was awarded also an award for transport, Luxembourg got an award for public services.  And it’s a way to recognise accessibility, not just for the sake of the award, but also it establishes a future commitment to continue working on this type of issues.

I would also like to mention in Europe there are some pilot projects, such as for instance the calypso project that has to do with tourist exchange, this is an interesting topic too.  Maybe I’ll tell you more after the next question.  But just to finish up I would like to say since Lisbon convention was approved Europe can regulate the issue of tourism, in 2009 the subsidiary principle was so important and it was a very state level competence and Europe didn’t really touch on this issue directly, it was done laterally, so now given this agreement in participation manner Europe can regulate this type of issue, and in the last term they draft add first report, it was called Europe first tourist destination worldwide.  There in they established guidelines for accessible tourism, and by the way tourism for all and accessible tourism is not just accessibility to transport, because we have worked on passenger rights at large and also in Europe they discussed at regulation.  Because in Spain we are also talking about the regulation of the right of passengers, we wonder whether it’s being fully complied with here in Spain?  Some airlines have forced disabled people to have companions travel with them, that’s a wrongful application of the EU legislation and they confuse safety and comfort.  And we’re trying to make — this is something we’re trying to fine tune in this regulation.

Accessible tourism also entails adaptations in the field of sports, also adaptations that it can be accessible in the complimentary offer, not just hotels, we’re talking about additional offers, for instance beaches, when it’s a beach and sun destination we are talking about and it’s very inter-disciplinary.  As our deputy director said, this also represents a business need.  There is 40 million disabled people in Spain, in Europe, and this is increasing because population is aging, and this is not just something we should consider from the human rights standpoint, but also from the economic standpoint.

I come from the island of Majorca in the Balearic islands, I come from an area that doesn’t suffer seasonality at all and we really focus on beach and sun tourism, but that area in particular is really not seasonal because it has focused on tourism for disabled people.  There is a pilot area that has had everything adapted over there, sports, premises, all sorts of things have been adapted and this is why it’s a reference in terms of accessible tourism.  And it’s not expensive, because the problem — one problem with accessible tourism is that it’s more expensive, and this is really not the case over there.  The sector hasn’t yet fully come to understand that accessibility should be affordable for everybody.  So we need to make reasonable adjustments to offer accessibility without having a significant impact on price, so that it can be a competitive business.

We hope this area will be a model for the future, people can travel there, stay for many days and go and do many leisure activities and many activities in general, and well that was all from me.  Later on I can tell you more about Europe.

>>  Thank you Rosa, just as I got Tatiana’s name wrong, on the programme it says that her name is Rosa Estaras Ferragut but her name is just Rosa Ferragut! Thank you for your contribution.  Let’s go beyond our European frontiers, Rafael you work at Setedis, so how has your entity contributed to develop disability policies in Ecuador?

>>  Okay thank you very much, thank you very much to my fellow panelists, I’m delighted to be here, we always feel really welcome, thank you very much Once, receive our greetings from Ecuador.  Receive also the greetings of our engineer, the vice-president of the Republic.  We are part of the vice-president of the Republic, we are the Secretariat for inclusive management on disabilities.

Just for you to get to know the context as to how we do this in Ecuador and the region as a whole, we must state that the history is a recent history in terms of disability, but I think it has had a great impact in the Latin American region.  The first thing that was established in Ecuador through the former vice-president who is now special rapporteur for the EU, we created back in 2009 a solitary mission Manuel Especo, from that moment onwards we started paying urgent attention to people with disabilities, there were 294,000 in Ecuador, from that point on we started working on what we have called the evolution of the rights of people with disabilities which is also part of our constitution and internal regulations that also arise from the UN Convention as we all know.

In 2013 this evolution was materialised in a different manner, through the programme Ecuador lives inclusion.  And it was replicated in other areas of the region and now we provide technical co-operation for Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, and central American countries too and as I said it has been a remarkable experience.

But in this context that I just established, it is also very important to share with you the fact that in Ecuador this has achieved outstanding results.  So much that since 2009 until now about 50,000 people with a disability were taken away from the poverty threshold.  Thanks to this support process and to the social approach that the national government has had.

We must also mention that in 2009 there were only 13,000 people with a disability in the educational system, now it’s 80,000 people and this figure is on the rise.  So much that right now we don’t just offer specialised education, which is the way we call it, but also informal education, we also include people with disability, because we now count with the necessary components in order to offer that type of education.

In the work sphere we also have a law that regulates it and in 2009 we had 15,000 people with a disability who had a job, but now the figure amounts to 80,000.  So the figures are really visible, the results are visible.

When we started working from our sphere we worked on three axises inclusion, participative inclusion and universal accessible.

In participative inclusion what we did was provide sustainability in public policy from the field to strengthen social fabric and work in an articulated manner so people with a disability can participate in public policies that are inherent to what might influence on their day to day, so much that up to date almost 100,000 people have participated in this and we have the involvement of 7,000 institutions in Ecuador.  Our idea is to create these enhancements for a community, not just for the people with disability.  Also in productive inclusion, after the first step which is technical assistance as we call it, in the subsequent steps what we do is to allow for people with disabilities and their families to establish businesses, so that they can make a living for themselves.  And this has provided great results.

We have many economies based on the production of commodities and raw materials.  For instance we have Quara that create bio jewels, what does that mean?  Well it’s like fish skin in this case that is turned into a jewel, it’s exported.  And this creates also job positions for people with and without a disability.

Now talking further about this, the other axis that we work is universal accessibility for all as Tatiana said, this is done on a basis of methodology that works around three key aspects, autonomy, safety and comfort.  This is a methodology that we have developed in Ecuador and quite recently in January this very year, it received an award in France.  This was the starting point that enabled us to work, not just in the country, but also with the countries of the region.  And always thinking precisely of the fact that in Ecuador we have 147,000 pregnant women, 1.5 million children below five years of age, 1.8 million elderly people and 400,000 people with a disability, so this has enabled us to have a more inclusive approach, and has also allowed us to work on the basis of that commitment that is called build accessibility.  So public sector and private sector agents have been included into this project, so that we can precisely work on the logistics for tourism.  Later on we can elaborate on this.

>>  Thank you.  We have just passed the equator of the panel.  So I’m going to make the second question, it will be twofold for each one of you, we have the clock over there.  So we will have to stick to time.  So I’ll ask you to be brief.  Luis, I ask you again, national policies of implementation have been implemented regionally and locally, what are the measures to highlight innovative measures in a destination?

>>  Well the policy at the state level is managed by the Ministry, the secretary of state through tourist Spain, and the town hall of Madrid works very tightly with tour Espana as it could be otherwise attending at fairs, developing classical tools of tourism, but the most interesting tool is the germ of a very interesting PPP, which is the association tourismo Madrid, it is a tool who wants to be financially independent, though a great part of the contributions are publicly funded.  But we go to travel agencies, hotel, shops, all the elements that revolve around the attraction of Madrid culture.

When you try identify why people come to Madrid and how to make things easy and how to get everybody involved of course the interest of the region of Madrid is for people not to be only here, but they go to Toledo, Segovia, that bigger Madrid, which is so wonderful because it’s so close and it’s so accessible in distance.  So it would be interesting for you to get involved in order to see how accessibility is taken into account here.  But market doesn’t take into account because it’s big numbers, when you make money on conventional tourists, you’re not aware about the needs of populations that represent a cost and which represent not so much a benefit.  That’s where public institutions include a different vision.

With regards to the second part of how to highlight innovating things done at a destination, it’s so difficult to answer this good question.  How credibility in a saturated world of information, in a world saturated with information, you have to make the most of what you get.  But now in Spain at least at municipal level, there is huge curiosity for this new town halls, now councils, what will they do?

And some of the mayors in the case of Madrid even, is raising interest to know what is happening in Madrid nationally, but internationally.  That’s interesting to make a use it have.  Because that might be interesting for someone who, for example someone — we were told the other day that the growing flow of people coming from India, or Indian people that want to come to Madrid because of an Indian movie that was shot in Spain with all the topics, that generated what they say is the aspirational desire to come to Spain from India.  But the thing is there is no direct airline Madrid to Delhi, so we’re working with different projects, but they try to say I want to go to Spain, there are no flights to Spain.  So it’s clear that our work is to meet everyone and then — and I shall finish with this — the people from Madrid Destino, they have tourist intentions destination, they do experiments in a weird way, if technology fascinates technicians but not business we must wait for it to mature.  There is people doing wonderful things such as augmented reality, I don’t know if you know it?  You put on Googles and it simulates how Madrid was in the 15th century when you are in the street, so it’s a Spanish French company that made the Strasbourg castle and it’s excellent what they have done, but when you tell that to a tourist operator, they tell you, you keep on playing with your games and what I care about is the mobile application that 2 million people will down load, not just what 5,000 technicians like.  So people want technology to be massive, useful, accessible, not only fascinating.  So we must have all of the things.  You must have what’s useful, massive and applicable.  And there is the development to get to know the tourists who offer the products they want.  There is also a process that you might know which has not gone through in Majorca from the tourist getting the — to follow him through his stay, telling him there is a winery two blocks away from where you are.  That is a work that is fabulous, that is going to, evolve because big data will advance and develop.

But how to make innovations accessible?  By being original and having luck amongst others.

>>  Okay thank you Luis for your contribution.  Well this blend of local, national, European and international policies can enrich and do enrich, if we can transmit that to the media, because if it’s not published it doesn’t exist that’s the secret of our result.  Tatiana two questions in a similar way, how can we encourage SMEs to innovate in tourism?  And what are the needs and current challenges regarding accessibility for these companies?

>>  I think that I would make the contrary questions, what are the challenges regarding accessibility and how can we motivate private sector?  How much time have I got?  Two or three minutes?  Well I’ll try and be brief.

We think the main challenge is to try as I said at the beginning, to include tourist market for all.  Because the demand of tourism is related to the supply.  So the current demand is all of us who require services, infrastructure, localisations that are accessible and that cover all our needs, we have to bear in mind that this demand depends on the current tourists.

If we talk about tourism for all we include accessible tourists as tourists that at any time might have a problem of impairment, because of a permanent impairment or because of a temporary impairment.  Any of us can just break a foot and may need a wheelchair or have a physical problem that impeaches our movements and normal conditions, and we also include within accessible tourists the elderly, senior tourists and we’re working hard there, because we will all be seniors as Rosa was saying, European population is getting older and older.

So we are interested about that because it’s tourism for all.  So the demand is very important.  What is the supply?  The supply we have to encourage by helping the private sector is the one of generating that interest for that kind of demand that currently exists.  Our working mechanisms from the secretary of state are attracting new market segments such as tourism for all, accessible tourism depending on what I said before the tourist has changed, is a wider spectrum of tourists.

We also use differentiation and specialisation tools to Foster the private sector.  We improve improvements of services and infrastructures.  We can also think the private sector traditionally thinks that he has to adapt the facilities, such as hotels or restaurants and that might entail a greater cost, it is true, because everything that is a change in the structure entails an investment and cost, but we have to motivate private sector to see that investment is for their good to attract a bigger market share.  It might seem frivolous to talk about economic terms when we talk about accessible tourism and market shares, but it’s a business opportunity, and the most — the countries that are at the vanguard use these working tools and we have to be competitive in this line.

We try to improve also the quality and satisfaction.  The secretary of state are Fostering quality and drafting a survey about the quality perception by customers in all senses, all the possibilities, the customers need, have needs of accessibility for their tourist environment to be nice so that the tourists can develop the tourist expectations or holiday expectations or leisure expectations in full conditions.  We also try to find guarantees of easy consumption, natural consumption in any destination that will be accessible to all customers.

We already work on accessibility with all the public institutions, with other local administrations and regional administrations and we also look for PPPs, public private partnerships, for example the association of hotel owners, we also collaborate with Cermi, to implement trainings on disability, for the first time the secretary of state is implementing a set of quality trainings for the tourist quality trainers, which is a system under the umbrella of the Secretariat of tourism and we’re implementing this quality label training for the trainers on accessibility.

So we have to see and make private companies see that this is an affordable and profitable market niche and that we have to be at the vanguard of these countries that are working in this sense.

>>  Thank you very much, specially for being so brief and sticking to time.  Rosa, can you think of an example — could you give us an example of success of implementing European policies in a specific destination?  And how do you see the future of technology and the traditional vision of tourism?

>>  Examples?  Well there are many.  We have talked about accessible city, but the EU has got pilot projects, one of 50,000 tourists with an exchange with South America, we had 25,000 Latin Americans to Europe and 25,000 Europeans traveling to Latin America, always focusing on accessibility.  There’s another project which is the Europe crossroads on European itineraries, some permanent, others punctual.  The project is in Calypso is interesting where it looks for exchanges in low season, but also it raises awareness on all accessibility topics.

But regarding tourism the key word is quality.  There is no quality if there is no accessibility, that is obvious.  Our colleague from the town hall was saying that quality is, and connectivity is also fundamental, you have to be connected to be able to reach that destination so transportation is one of the cornerstones.  For example in the islands, due to competition, connectivity is key and connectivity has to be accessible.  That’s why there are many European politics regarding transportation and transportation accessible and other key elements, like everything regarding sustainability.  And new technologies!

It is true that the future in general is related to new technologies, and in fact the 2020 strategy, these objectives Europe has set for 2020 employment and education, but they are also regarding sustainability and innovation.  Innovation because we want for 2020, 3 percent of GDP of the EU’s GDP devoted to innovation.  So let’s say the future of Europe is constrained to being pioneers and to excel in innovation in scientific projects.  The 2020 project focuses on that specifically and therefore tourism and what we’re talking about has to dialogue with innovation and that’s going to be very good for accessibility in general terms.  I always say that I come from the industrial analogue era but we are living in the digital era, and starting with this digital era so it’s very important for that to be always taking into account accessibility because if we do accessibility things from the beginning everything will be simple.

Then also seasonality, most of the tourist destinations specially in south of Europe are seasonal destinations so we have to work with alternative tourism, health tourism, cycling tourism, heritage tourism to cover the other seasons.  And that is where we see our future market.  And then training, for it to be of quality there must be training provided, but from the first to last link of tourist chain, not only the hotel people but all the complimentary services, all the services that revolve around this destination and that training has to include accessibility training and training for this group of tourists.  Training for all.

So one of the topics that is really hot in Europe is universal design, there’s a pilot project in between Vicenza and New York to work in different areas in universal design so we all when possible work with design for all, which is universal design.  I was in the pilot project in Vicenza and the disabled people defend this universal design so that we visualise the non stigmatization, that’s very important to give advisability to this group of people, because if they are visible you raise awareness and everything becomes easier for accessible.

Europe has just passed in 2014 the European norm on accessibility in new technologies, by inviting all the sectors, not only big companies of new technologies, but also all the accessibility groups and we’re working there and we have passed a new norm on tourist packages because this norm was too old.

So we must find a balance between tourism and consumer, when someone buys a tourist package, that person is buying the hotel, the entry to the concert, transportation.  What happens if there is a cancellation, what are the rights?

That’s it on my side, I have just asked the organisers, I have a great relationship with Once and European forum, but all the conclusions of the congress, I’ve asked the organisers to, for them to transfer them to the EU commission so that we take more steps forward to have more accessible tourism.  Thank you.

>>  Thank you Rosa, yes the secret of all of this is to give it a future so that it’s not just something we do here, and that is a challenge I asked to all the attendees, to commit towards, to disseminate and continue working.

Rafael, how has the PPP influenced the policies in Ecuador and which are the activities and challenges when including technology and accessibility in a destination?

>>  Well the PPP, the activities of public private partnerships have been key.  In 2013 we adopted the international norms on accessibility and we worked on two lines, the first one has to do with the physical environment and then access to ICT, trying to be accessible in services and products.  With this logic of these PPPs we should mention that in Ecuador there’s a resort which is really interested on accessibility and we are in fact already working on the coast line of the pacific, because they’ve said we want to participate in what I was explaining, which is the commitment building accessibility.

On the first terms that is one of the effective proofs that this process is bringing results forward.  And furthermore, in this public private collaboration, from the central government and Regional governments, what you call town halls for us is the autonomous de centralised governments, there is a will in this sense and in this province in Sierra which is in the Amazon and St. Helena which has to do with the coast lines, these regions have a huge tourist potential and they are interested in doing all these accessibility processes, physical means but also with regards to ICT, through the state, that’s how we are supporting them.

In Quito, the capital for example, we are working in the logics of accessible museums, yesterday we participated in one of the workshops you organised and we contacted people from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and their experience is very interesting to be replicated in Ecuador.

And Rosa was saying not long ago that we have to see the specificities, because mobility makes for people to move around and change continents, and Cuenca in Ecuador, one of the cities with the greatest potential is destination for retired people coming from Europe and US, so it is precisely with decentralised autonomous government of that region, we are working on accessibility to buildings and others, because one of the protected historical cities, protected by UNESCO, so that is where you see all these PPPs becoming real and efficient in terms of accessibility.

In terms of ICT, well it’s very important for us, what we did was provide accessibility to a website, our website and the national government has an interest on replicating this in its own system of Ministers and Secretariats and for us one of the most important ones is tourism, that is where we have already anchored, if you go and see the website, this exercise on accessibility towards de centralised autonomous region with private companies we’ve detected potentially places that have got tourist potential and we have included them in the virtual platform of the government in order to focus the work done by the Ministry of tourism.  So that’s why we believe that the support, and supporting products and services and environments and specially on technology side is fundamental for the development of accessibility for all.

>>  Okay thank you Rafael, we have three minutes, I wanted to make short conclusions that maybe in one sentence you will be able to nuance if you need.  I think it’s important for the municipal, national, European and international involvement, to make it clear that PPPs are also very necessary, private public partnerships, the most people involved the better results we will get.  And imagination, sustainability, innovation, everything is part of that development of tourism for all.

Technological development, it’s clear that if today we could — if we weren’t as we are in the state that we are, we wouldn’t be able to move around.  We need to have new technologies that are necessary, so as they evolve they will collaborate more and more and we will get better results.  Smart cities — I was talking to a colleague of mine who was working with me in smart cities, the first precondition is for them to be accessible.  That’s the first prerequisite, they don’t have to be smart but really accessible.  That already would be the first step.

Digitalisation is also part of all this, but political awareness at all levels, Fostering new technologies and being implemented for tourism.  But I think that all this would be meaningless if there is no media projection, if people are not aware, we will get to the conclusion that we got in another congress.  I’m not just thinking about tourism for disabled people or tourism for the elderly, or tourism for backpackers or for cyclers or for bikers or I don’t know, tourism for everyone, accessible tourism for everyone.

If we talk about the concept we have been talking about design for all, universal design entails universal accessibility, if we think about the ones that have more difficulties we will solve the problems of the rest.  So tourism as it is a source of revenue, 10 percent of GDP in Spain, with great possibilities, it can create wealth, employment, so we must give the light it needs, and accessible tourism must be our aim and our path.  Because the elderly tend to have more, financial possibilities because they have more time and they are accompanied and they are de seasonal tourism, and this has benefits.  So we need to think about the people that are more limited, let’s solve their needs and we’ll solve the needs of the rest.

And if this is dissected, disseminated, published, if we don’t use the congress, not just for ourselves, it will be meaningless, so we need to use the conclusions we get from these kind of events as a means to project tourism for all and tourism for everyone.  I don’t know if this is a summary, but if there is anyone who would like to ask or add anything else, otherwise thank you for your collaboration, your participation, Luis, Tatiana Rosa and Rafael, I hope this session has been useful.  I ask for your collaboration for dissemination for this becoming a means for what we want to do thank you.

Short break.

>>  Good morning, we kindly ask you to take your seats, we are about to start.

>>  Authorities, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, welcome to the awards ceremony and the third edition of the Discapnet awards of Once foundation.

For the last few days this auditorium has held the international congress on tourism and technology for all, organised by Once foundation, in the era of knowledge and information society over 300 people, coming from over 20 countries have been able to share knowledge on areas such as effective computing, New Horizons in research, smart tourism services, global trends in technology and accessibility, active aging and entrepreneur all approach on accessibility, among other matters.

Also we have been able to attend very interesting demonstrations like the one that has just been carried out by Foundation Once’s officials on guide dogs.  The hashtag is #premiosdiscapnet.

14 years ago the Once Foundation created the portal.  This video that includes the Audesc mobile technology summarises some of its main achievements.

(video plays)

Third edition of the Discapnet awards.  Foundation Once is launching the portal in the year 2000 when we already came to understand that whatever wasn’t on the internet would not exist.  Fostered and managed by Ilunion technology and accessibility and initially co-founded by the EU the portal was created to provide for people with a disability and these people who relate to them, that is relatives, friends, professionals, a place where to gather knowledge about disability and where to find communication tools for people with functional diversity.  A portal created and maintained by people with and without disabilities.

Discapnet was a pioneer to create this portal for people when Facebook and Twitter hadn’t yet been conceived by their creator, when e-mail was a paid service and Discapnet started offering hosting for pages in a free manner and created the first digital newspaper on disabled people in Europe.

In 2004 it created the first accessible map and assistant to navigate the internet and technological training programmes and accessibility observatory that is a reference on accessibility with links to social manners, reports on social issues, among other topics.

The need of the Discapnet portal has been confirmed by the over 600,000 visits it had last year and now it offers a great share of links that come from abroad.  It has a great knowledge on the references and needs for service of the users, both having to do with disabilities and other things common for all citizens.  It’s constantly evolving to satisfy needs, so we constantly introduce new contents and services, such as news in easy reading format, a service that publishes news in format for people that have cognitive and intellectual limitations.

There’s a section on technology, where they post new involvements in this field using criteria so it can be used by people with disabilities.  There’s a section about education, providing information on scholarships, congresses, eLearning platforms etcetera.

Entrepreneurs, it provides advice and resources to set up a business, because unemployment has the highest impact on people with a disability.

New projects will come to light in 2015, the portal will be renewed to adapt to new trends in the internet, new reports from the observatory will be published and there will be specialised sub portals that have to do with, for instance mobile technologies which are of great interest for the public as a whole.

The Discapnet awards of Once Foundation were created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the portal and to acknowledge the effort that professionals, companies and administrations do to Foster the responsible use of technology, putting it at the service of people, including the disabled.

It’s been exceptionally welcome in academic and business areas, so we really want to give a tribute to all of them, not just to the foundation, but also to all the people who have joined us, and we want to thank them for all their resources and talent devoted to this, so that we can make this information society available to all these people.  Thank you very much for your work.

>>  These awards are specially important today, given the increasing influence of new technologies in all the spheres of society and tourism, more specifically, for their capability for improving and making our lives easier.  People with a disability do not want and cannot stay left aside from this type of advantage.  Jesus Gala the director of universal accessibility and innovation of Once Foundation who is responsible for this initiative, will tell us the philosophy behind this project and all the tasks undertaken by the jury.

>>  Dear ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us here today in the 13th edition of the awards, indeed we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the portal 10 years talking about technology and tourism for all through our congress, five years of awards, three different editions.

Indeed these awards were created to support and recognise all the work undertaken by organisations, companies, corporations and people to improve accessible technology.  Even though this piece of data is quite trite there’s one billion people with a disability worldwide.  1 billion people potential users.  But right now it’s one billion people excluded people, because we can not put forward a technology that encompasses all, that’s not conceived with accessibility criteria.  That’s the goal of this awards to Foster, encourage and support all those that work along those lines.

How did we organise this session?  Well we will first grant an award for a category that recognises projects, products and services that revolve around accessible technology and here we wanted to provide an award to a product or service that’s specially focused on people of an elder age.  This recognises the trajectory, the time those people have been working for this purpose, to come up with an accessible technology.  On this occasion we wanted to use a new factor, democratisation.  We wanted to use social networks to encourage people in our society who want to support those that have been working for a long time to improve accessible technology, so they can recognise them, so we propose 14 multinational companies and we did get a winner by the way.  The jury had a hard time deciding, 60 people applied for this, 14 multinational companies opted for it and in this third edition we counted with many participants who wanted to get this award that we provide through Once Foundation.  I don’t want to talk any more, I just want to give the floor to Paco, a worker in Ilunion group, a colleague with a disability, I would kindly ask him to resume the session, thank you.

>>  Thank you very much Jesus.  In the jury meeting of the third Discapnet awards edition, it took place on the 14th May, the members of the jury chose the finalists on category A, that recognitions best initiative, project or product or ICT service to improve the quality of life of people with a disability to Stic Aspaym, also doctor Tea, that facilitates medical visits for people with autism, Fostered by orange foundation and also the Lazzus project in Neosentec.

And in category B that recognises the person, company, entity or organisation that has been more prominent because of their continued work to improve ICT accessibility we have the following finalists, Spanish association for standardisation and certification, Aenor, down Madrid and the Spanish centre for subtitling and audio description Cesya.

A new point in the third edition of the awards, we also have a special award voted by the public to grant the award to a multinational company that integrates in a crosscutting manner, accessibility in their technological developments.  In order to do so the jury made a selection of the following companies because they understood that they included accessibility in their products and services that they offer to their clients.  Adobe, Amazon, apple, eBay, Google, Microsoft, Olympus, orange, pan sonic, pay pal, Samsung, Telefonica, Twitter and Vodafone.  The voting process took place between 1st June and 31st August.

We invite to come on stage Ms Carmen Vela secretary of state for research, development and innovation in the Ministry of economy and competitiveness.  Mr Alberto Duran, executive vice-president of the Once Foundation, Ms Patricia Sanz 2nd vice-president of the general council of Once, Mr Onoro CEO of Ilunion group and Jose Machado president of Ford Spain that will deliver the following awards, according to the minutes of the meeting held by the jury on 14th May and bearing in mind the results of the voting process by the public, in category A the jury has taken into account the availability of technologies and innovative character and global quality of the results obtained as well as the degree of applicant and possibilities of generalisation.

The award to the best initiative project, product or ICT service to improve the quality of life of people with a disability goes to Aspaym national federation.  The president of the national federation Aspaym will pick up the award, address us and the prize will be delivered by Carmen Vela and Patricia Sanz.

>>  Distinguished authorities, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, for Aspaym national federation, this is tremendously positive that in this edition of Discapnet awards you have considered that our work deserves this honour.

Thanks are in order to the jury and to the Once Foundation and of course to those people that made it possible for this Stic project to come to light.  Thanks to Vodafone foundation, Polytechnic university in Madrid and Aspaym Madrid, on behalf of all of them I get the award and give you my eternal gratitude.  Thank you very much.

Also the jury considered that an award should be granted to the best project, product or service based on communication and information technology, ICT, that Fosters personal autonomy or improvement of the life quality of elderly people who are dependent, and it has been granted to the project Lazzus Project, it’s been given by Carmen Vela and Jose Machado.

>>  Thank you very much, thanks everybody on behalf of us, thank you awards, thank you Once Foundation for recognising our work and for supporting projects that we carry out to improve the life quality of people with a disability.

>>  In the B category the jury has valued the extent, continuity and coherence of actions carried out, innovative character and global quality of the results obtained, as well as the contribution to technological and methodological development of ICT accessibility, the awards recognises the company entity or organisation that has been outstanding because of their work to Foster the improvement of ICT, is the Spanish association of standards and certification.  The jury highlights the accessibility standards for ICT through integrated committees by experts of all the agents involved, offering a great range of solutions.  The prize is given to Carlos Esteban president of Aenor and the award is given by Carmen Vela and Alejandro Onoro.

>>  Madam secretary of state, authorities, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much forgiving Aenor this prestigious award.  It is an honour that encourages us to make progress in a task that we have been undertaking for a very long time.  We published the first standards on accessibility for IT platforms in 1998.  Normalisation and standardisation is a tool for competitiveness and improvement that is very powerful for a country.  True competitiveness for the long term can only be put together with the effort and support of all the agents of a society.

We must mention the 170 normalisation or standardisation committee of Aenor, where Once Foundation also works to put together standards that will convey best practices.  This is a work worth praising, that has put Spain at the level of a worldwide reference in this field.  Thank you very much.

>>  The special prize granted because of popular votes to the multinational company that better integrates accessibility in a crosscutting manner because of their technological developments with a 63.83 percent of the votes received goes to Vodafone.  The award will be given to Francisco Roman Chairman of Vodafone Spain, the prize is given by Carmen Vela and Alberto Duran.

>>  Secretary of state, authorities, friends of the Once Foundation, friend overall, it’s a great satisfaction for us to get this award.  Before we were talking about technology and the logical demand of making a technology that is accessible for everyone.  Bear in mind that technology is the greatest opportunity for integration that the world has to hand right now, that’s a great demand for all of us, Vodafone makes an effort towards that purpose, we have been doing it for a long final, receiving the recognition is a real satisfaction for us.

I would like to congratulate our colleagues, this is a joint effort from the company and the foundation, and in this case I would like to thank the popular democratic jury via internet, the Once group, and all of you, thank you very much once again, please receive my deepest gratitude.

>>  After this emotional award ceremony, I now give the floor to Mr Alberto Duran.

>>  Yes I think I have a microphone already, okay?  Well good morning everybody.  I would like to make a brief intervention, first to congratulate all the award winners.  I would like to congratulate them all because the jury has had a hard time deciding who the winner was, so the jury also had a great task to carry out.  I would like to congratulate them because they are with us one edition after the other, and among other things, the jury is what makes this awards prestigious.  Thank you very much also for participating in this congress, I would like to thank you all.  We started this congress a couple of days ago, and today we are closing this with a cherry on top, which is this award ceremony.

I would like to thank the sponsors of this congress and the entrants of Discapnet, I would like to thank all speakers and panelists, I think this has also been a reference for all the people who have attended this congress.  I think they got a very positive impression of how many accessible technologies we have at hand.  I would like to thank all collaborators who have added their contributions and their improvements in parallel to this congress.  Right now we just saw an exhibition on guide dogs, it was the 25th anniversary of the guide dog school yesterday, and queen Sophia attended the school, so of course we would like to recall that very important event that they had yesterday.  And today we had the vice-president of Once here with us and we would like to also recognise the human capital that they count on.

This is very important, because it’s a counter weight so to speak, some technology cannot be improved and technology with a heart, that’s what guide dogs foundation of Once foundation give, that cannot be equaled.  Thank you very much also Carmen Vela secretary of state for research, development and innovation of the Ministry of technology — economy and competitiveness.  Thank you very much for joining us in this award ceremony and to come and give us closing remarks in this session.

We have had the chance to meet before, we have attended many other events in other places, also we have the CEO of, the executive vice-president of Repsol foundation and Carmen was also at their entrepreneurial event and she did make evident that she is a brilliant politician and she knows what she is talking about and also wants to achieve what she says actually she wants to achieve.  So thank you very much, without further ado, you have the floor.

>>  Good morning everybody.  Just to finalise and to conclude this event, I would like to give the floor to Madam Carmen Vela.

>>  Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen, I was going to say hello to all the colleagues in the first row, but they are not there! So thank you very much and hello colleagues, members of the jury and all friends.  Thank you very much.  It is an honour for me to get some time to share with you, for many reasons.  Because as you very well know daily life in the last few years, for those of us who have taken on certain responsibility, daily life has not been easy.

We have a lot of work in our daily life, but we’re still moved by our interest on what we do, and science and innovation, but some days in your agenda you see that there is an award ceremony and that’s very special, because an award is just a materialisation of something that’s very important.  First you come to recognise what others have done, but also a proof of generosity of those people who are capable of recognising merit in others, and sometimes dark shadows are cast over our society and those of us that make an effort to value the generosity of others, that gives us a glimpse of hope that proves that we’re not doing everything wrong, that there is good people among us.  And that generosity does have a purpose.

Today is a very special day because we are granted the third edition of the Discapnet awards, these are very special prizes as I said to Alberto when I came in, the system of technology, science and innovation are really thankful, because you have a lot of sensitivity towards us, and this foundation has supported us.  It was generous and they know a lot about generosity.

We have a really encouraging environment ahead of us, but we need to be vigilant because laws supporting life, laws encourage technology but we need more of that.  We need, since the very beginning together with you, and you together with us, we need to work so that technology, which is not a source of separation, we need to make technology not create barriers but rather take them down.  And what you did in this congress was precisely that.  Technology is now being a way forward to create inclusive societies and believe me science and innovation has one goal only at the end of the day.  What we want to do is create a better society, a society that is important in economic terms but also a society that is socially responsible, so that all citizens have a better quality of life.  And believe me, this state Secretariat is attempting to do it and is encouraging that it happens.

You can count on us as loyal and reliable collaborators along the way so that we can make technology take down hurdles so that technology sets the purpose of creating equality, so that technology can help us all become one.  A fully responsible society and these are words, but I can also give you facts, even though sometimes it’s not so nice to speak about money in public, but in the state Secretariat we’ve devoted over 40 million specially to different projects, research projects, investigation development projects, that are devoted to taking down those barriers, and these are projects that we will continue to support, those are projects that have gone beyond our borders, we’re participating in the European programme Horizon 2020.  Maybe there is a few customers for me to join so that you can join this project?

Please go ahead and join this European project, because when we do, we escalate to a different level, to an international level that is also very important for technology.  But don’t just go and do it, count on us.  Because in a couple of days we will be mapping out two specific areas for European project that is are directly related to this taking down of hurdles to this way of bridging gaps through technology, to create a more inclusive society.  We already have a couple of projects, but please go ahead and propose your project, because using innovation, development and technology, we will all achieve something that’s already established by law.  An independent life which is robust for people with a disability.

You have in the state Secretariat someone that will hear you, and this secretary of state gives you her deepest gratitude for doing your effort for creating this event, but also for your silent work, day after day, that enables you to do what you do, which is to create a better society.

>>  Dear authorities, dear friends we do thank you for attending this seminar.  Please all the finalists, awardees and people that have given the awards, please come to the stage so that we can take the official picture.  Then after this you are invited to Spanish wine.  Thank you for coming and good morning everyone.

Congress concludes.

Nov 2013 : BEC Sunday church service, UK

Aug 2013 : Deafblind Congress, Lille France



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