31.08.2023 - How accessible tourism in rural areas should be designed
Within the framework of the EU Interreg project "CE-Spaces4All", the Institute of Spatial Planning, Environmental Planning and Land Use Management (IRUB) at BOKU is working together with European and local project partners and affected people to develop measures to better integrate accessibility into planning.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is currently very present again, as at the UN headquarters in Geneva last week, compliance with disability rights, specifically the implementation of measures for the integration of persons with disabilities in all areas of life, was examined. Austria was also put to the test and in this context spatial planning was also identified as an important field of action.
Currently, the Institute for Spatial Planning, Environmental Planning and Land Use Planning (IRUB) at BOKU is conducting research on the topic. Within the framework of an Interreg project funded by the EU, the focus is on barrier-free tourism for people with disabilities. The institute is working together with project partners from Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Poland.
The cross-border region Weinviertel-Südmähren is one of three pilot regions that are being modelled in the project and where the focus is on cross-border activities. The Weinviertel Tourismus acts as the Austrian practice partner.
CE-Spaces4All involves people with disabilities as well as their representatives, actors from the tourism sector, public institutions and research institutions.
The project participants work together to ensure that people with disabilities can travel and use tourism offers in a self-determined way. This requires a smooth interaction between accessibility (especially in public transport) and tourism providers, corresponding online information services and orientation aids on site. Often there is still a lack of awareness of the needs of people with disabilities. Therefore, the CE-Spaces4All project brings together relevant policy actors and people with disabilities.
The project will develop a digital tool for mapping barriers in rural regions and develop a common transnational strategy and local action plans to better integrate accessibility issues into spatial planning. "The existing spectrum of legal requirements and measures is taken into account here - starting with building regulations such as ramps, Braille lettering and tactile guidance systems, through guidelines for the disabled-friendly design of public spaces and the transport system, to strategic supra-local planning," says project manager Tatjana Fischer. "In dealing with the topics of spatial accessibility and accessibility of tourism offers, we were sensitised to the diversity of physical and mental disabilities and the different requirements of those affected," says Fischer, noting, "It is quite morally challenging for us researchers to have to decide in favour of certain target groups for pragmatic reasons."
This project focuses on visually impaired and blind people as well as those who depend on a wheelchair. The project is scheduled to run for three years and should bring about concrete improvements in the participating regions. The results developed for disability-friendly tourism offers, especially in rural areas, are to be integrated into relevant European policy papers and subsequently find broad practical implementation. Another important project partner is therefore the European Disability Forum (EDF) as an umbrella organisation of disability organisations throughout Europe.
Priv.-Doz.in Mag.a Dr.in Tatjana Fischer
Institute for Spatial Planning, Environmental Planning and Land Use Planning (IRUB)
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Tel.: 01 47654 85517