The project touristic! aims to find new and innovative answers to all challenges by upskilling disabled people in Digital Skills applied to the design of innovative commercial services and products in Online Accessible Tourism, creating new skills pathways and labour opportunities for disabled people in Europe, supporting ICT-based teaching and assessment practices and promoting the transparency, validation and recognition of skills and competences acquired through OER.
As part of the ongoing Touristic project, work is ongoing into the development of Output 4 – Guidelines to foster transparency and recognition of Digital Skills for Accessible Tourism in Europe
The aim of intellectual output 4 is to provide a reference document with a coherent set of practical guidelines and recommendations to foster transparency and recognition on Digital Skills for Online Accessible Tourism. The Guidelines will support, and will be aligned with, other European transparency and recognition instruments, such as ECVET, EQAVET, EQF or Europass. It will be a policy instrument to support the exploitation strategy of the project and to mainstream the project results, in particular the European Framework of Reference on Digital Skills for Accessible Tourism.
Some of the key findings which may be of interest from an Irish POV include the following guidelines.
Policy initiatives addressing Accessible Tourism that have taken place in Ireland
There is no single unifying body nor policy initiatives in Ireland which directly address accessible tourism. While it is noted in many areas as an important area and a key element for the future of tourism in Ireland, there is no national body in Ireland directly responsible for accessible tourism – rather it is a kind of “shared spare” or “shared responsibility” between a number of different organizations, including:
The National Disability Authority (NDA): an independent statutory body that provides information and advice to the Government on policy and practice relevant to the lives of persons with disabilities.
Failte Ireland: The National body in Ireland responsible for promoting, supporting and regulating hospitality within Ireland
The above bodies are broadly responsible for the majority of initiatives related to people with disabilities in Ireland, with the NDA being responsible for research, development of standards and codes of practice related to persons with disabilities. and Failte Ireland being responsible for promotion, support and regulation.
A key element and initiative arising from the NDA includes the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design – a sub—body of the NDA designed to promote the universal design of the built environment, products, services and information and communication technologies so that they can be accessed and used by anyone and everyone.
The Centre for Universal design has developed a number of initiatives related to accessible tourism, including an Irish Standard (May 2013, Irish Standard I.S. 373:2013) – “Universal Design for customer engagement in tourism services”. This voluntary national standard was developed in collaboration with the tourism industry, involving Fáilte Ireland, the Irish Hospitality Institute and over 15 other key stakeholder bodies. This resource provides comprehensive best practice guidance on achieving better customer communication for the purposes of accessible tourism.
For more information and resources, please check out https://touristic-upskilling.eu/