In-Tour's Journey to an Inclusive and Accessible Tourism Sector: Highlights from the Final Conference– 28th September 2023
Over the past four years, partner organisations of the In-Tour project have worked hard to make the tourism sector more inclusive and barrier-free for people with disabilities. Their efforts include developing modules and training for tourism professionals that educate them on accessibility, and discussing potential next steps for the sector with industry leaders. All this has brought us to the final conference of the In-Tour project held on 28th September 2023, which was an opportunity to reiterate the importance of inclusive tourism education for the creation of a diverse and accessible future in the European tourism sector.
Key topics included the development of curricula for inclusive tourism management and staff, the need for accessible tourism across various sectors, and the project's role in addressing skills gaps in the European Union. In his opening presentation, Marco Pizzio, project coordinator and Head of Accessible Tourism at AISM, emphasised the project’s commitment to providing open-access content, and encouraged universities to incorporate these resources into their programmes.
The conference also featured Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of ENAT, who stressed the significance of implementing accessibility in every aspect of tourism, making a compelling case for the inclusion of accessible tourism education in various fields like architecture, business, social sciences, law, and technology. The European Commission's focus on accessible tourism within its tourism policy and the EU's Year of Skills in 2022 underlined the relevance of In-Tour's initiatives. Attendees were encouraged to explore the project's European curricula for inclusive tourism, and to engage in the mission to expand accessible tourism education across the continent.
The project partners (Panagiota Polymeropoulou from the Hellenic Open University; Agostino Massa from the University of Genoa; and Maik Arnold from the University of Applied Sciences Dresden) presented the outcomes of the In-Tour pilot courses which took place in Greece, Italy and Germany. By testing the In-Tour Curricula and the In-Tour e-learning platform, these courses equipped participants with skills, competencies, and knowledge related to inclusive tourism. These initiatives aimed to foster inclusivity and provide recognised qualifications to enhance the tourism industry's accessibility.
Barbara Mazzarino from S14Life discussed the development of curricula as a key outcome of the In-Tour project. She outlined the key steps in creating curricula and the need for a European curriculum that serves as a reference for various European countries. The curricula aim to offer training at EQF Level 5 for Inclusive Tourism Frontline Staff and EQF Level 6 for Inclusive Tourism Managers. Developing the curricula was based on professional profiles created from market and customer needs. Mazzarino elaborated on the modular structure of the courses, which allows instructors to select learning outcomes based on their specific teaching objectives. She also provided information on minimum sector learning outcomes and suggested credit assignments.
Finally, Giulia Bergamasco from EASPD discussed the key dissemination moments of the In-Tour project, where project partners followed a dedicated strategy to promote the project results and vision, and to, in turn, further foster inclusivity in the tourism sector.
All in all, the In-Tour project's final conference was about making tourism more inclusive and accessible. Moving forward, In-Tour hopes to see the creation of more equal opportunities for all and the celebration of diversity in the tourism world.