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Accessible Tourism

Millions of people around the world are interested in traveling, they have both the time and money to do so, but stay at home because accessibility for the disabled and people with reduced mobility is lacking in many places.

Opportunity for tourism businesses

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 15% of the world's population (1 billion people) have some kind of disability. Access for all to facilities and services in tourism is a matter of human rights and should be a part of responsible and sustainable business practices. But good accessibility is not just human rights. It is also a business opportunity for destinations and companies to be able to welcome all visitors, whether they are disabled, elderly or have other special needs.

"According to Icelandic laws and regulations, special care must be taken to ensure that accessibility for disabled people, to a man-made environment, is equal to others."

 

Accessible Tourism

In cooperation with The Housing and Construction Authority, Sjálfsbjörg (The National Association of People with Physical Disabilities in Iceland) and ÖBÍ (The Icelandic Disability Alliance), The Icelandic Tourist Board has launched a new project called Accessible Tourism, which is intended to improve accessibility in tourism for disabled people.

Good accessibility for disabled people means better access for all.

The project is intended to inform and assist tourism operators in welcoming people, with disabilities, in a safe and responsible way so that facilities and services are in accordance to their needs.

  1. The project, which is a self-assessment, is based on trust and the willingness to show responsibility in action to best serve this target group.
  2. The project is intended to assist tourism operators to show in a tangible way that they care about all visitors and that they do their utmost to welcome all.
  3. Tourism operators who consider themselves to fulfill all the minimum requirements in the self-assessment will receive the project's appropriate logo. There are three logos available; accessibility for the disabled, accessibility for the visually impaired and blind, accessibility for the hearing impaired and deaf.
  4. Criteria for the disabled/physically impaired are basic criteria. Everyone who participates in Accessible Tourism needs to fulfill, at least, all the minimum requirements involved. In addition, there are specific criteria for accessibility for the hearing impaired and the deaf, and for the visually impaired and the blind, which both are optional.
  5. Let us show that Iceland is ready to welcome all guests with professionalism and responsibility.

Who can participate in the project?

In the beginning, the project is intended for accommodation, restaurants, wellness and swimming pools, conference facilities and museums. Companies in other categories in tourism will be able to participate later. Companies that want to participate must be registered in The Icelandic Tourist Board‘s database.

If the company is not registered in the database, you can request a registration, free of charge.

Further information about the registration can be obtained by sending an email to ferdalag@ferdamalastofa.is

 

The project‘s logos

Merki fyrir aðgengi

 

What needs to be done?

  1. The first step, is to study the criteria carefully, along with the guidelines, and make necessary arrangements within the company. This could take some time.
  2. Once you have familiarized yourself with the criteria and the guidelines and made all the necessary arrangements to fulfill at least minimum requirements, the next step is to go back to the website of The Icelandic Tourist Board to confirm the participation (see below). The terms and conditions of the project must also be accepted.
  3. Once the criteria is fulfilled and participation has been confirmed, companies will be sent the appropriate logo.
  4. The display of the logo on the company‘s website is a pledge to the customers that accessibility for people with disability is sufficient.
  5. Companies participating in the project will be identified with the accessibility logo, e.g. on the websites www.ferdalag.is and www.visiticeland.com.
  6. If further information about the project is needed please send an email to gottadgengi@ferdamalastofa.is. Regarding specific questions about accessibility, you can contact Sjálfsbjörg; osk@sjalfsbjorg.is and margret@sjalfsbjorg.is. Regarding questions about visual accessibility, acoustics, etc. you can contact stefan@obi.is
Participating companies must fulfill at least minimum requirements in the criteria for the disabled. In addition, there are special criteria for accessibility for the visually impaired and the blind and accessibility for the hearing-impaired and the deaf, that companies have the option to add.

Who supervises the participating companies?

As this is a self-assessment, there is no supervision or inspection if companies meet the relevant requirements. It can be said that the customers do the supervision, as they have the opportunity to send comments to The Icelandic Tourist Board, either to give positive feedback on the performance of participating companies, or to point out what can be done better.

The company in question will receive a copy of all comments that may be received. If the comment is negative The Icelandic Tourist Board reserves the right, according to terms, to remove the accessibility logo from the database, if the company involved does not respond adequately.

As mentioned before, this project is neither a recognition nor certification. The project is primarily a pledge to customers that the minimum standards regarding accessibility are met.

 Participation is free of charge

It doesn‘t cost anything to participate in the project but some arrangements or construction might be necessary to meet the minimum requirements. Apart from that the following might also be assumed:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the criteria and guidelines.
  2. Educate and inform all employees.
  3. Other measures to be taken at each location.

Criteria, guidelines, video and more

Criteria (only available in Icelandic at the moment, will be available in English soon).

  • Criteria for the disabled/physically impaired (basic criteria).
  • Specific criteria for accessibility for the visually impaired and the blind (optional).
  • Specific criteria for accessibility for the hearing impaired and the deaf (optional).

Terms and conditions and a pledge:

Guidelines

Good advice

Other useful material and information

Self-assessment fulfilled – confirmation of participation

Open form to confirm the participation

When the confirmation has been submitted The Icelandic Tourist Board will send the appropriate logo(s).