Madrid, 1 June 2022. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Fundación ONCE and the Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, have signed an agreement for the dissemination of the first international standard on accessible tourism, which also seeks to promote its implementation through all the stakeholders that make up the value chain of the tourism sector. This standard, ISO 21902 Tourism and related services – Accessible tourism for all– Requirements and recommendations, is an international standard that includes the best practices so that everyone can enjoy tourism under equal conditions, in particular people with disabilities. The global standard has been led by UNWTO, Fundación ONCE and UNE.
The agreement has been signed by the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili; the CEO of Fundación ONCE, José Luis Martínez Donoso; and the CEO of UNE, Javier García. The three organisations are committed to disseminating this standard with a view to promoting its national adoption and its use by the tourism administrations and service providers that make up the accessible tourism value chain: managers of destinations and public entities, transport, accommodation, catering, tourism resources and travel agencies, among others.
The standard, published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in July 2021, was developed by a working group of 85 experts from 35 countries, within the International Committee ISO/TC 228 Tourism and related services, the secretariat of which is held by UNE. The standard is available in Spanish as UNE-ISO 21902, having been translated and adopted into the national catalogue of UNE standards.
Although the sector has made remarkable progress in this area, tourists with disabilities still encounter difficulties in organising their trips, in accessing certain destinations such as beaches or natural and urban environments, or in understanding clearly and easily the indications of tourist establishments. The World Health Organization (WHO) calculates that 15% of the world's population -one billion people- has some type of disability.
Raising awareness will sensitise institutions, governments and service providers to the importance of accessibility and inclusion, especially at a time when tourism is recovering from the pandemic. Furthermore, the promotional actions planned will emphasise that this is not only a human rights and equal opportunities issue, but also an important competitive advantage for destinations and the private sector.