Tourism without barriers

More and more parts of the country become accessible to be enjoyed by people with disabilities or reduced mobility; Meet vacation destinations that allow for all

In Argentina, four out of ten people have some difficulty moving. These include pregnant women, niños, elderly with walking problems, persons traveling with prams, plastering or someone carrying a load of important weight on your body, people with disabilities, etc. Contemplating all this universe of citizens, in the country and the world is moving towards cities without barriers, sites accessible to everyone. Accessible tourism is part of this approach and, in recent years, He has shown signs of positive initiatives across the country.
Image of People with Disabilities in the Iguazu Falls

The advisor and creator Tourist Ombudsman Network for Accessible Tourism, Alejandro Lopez, He says the city of Buenos Aires is implementing a strategic plan drawn prospects accessibility to completion at 2019: This includes hotels, restaurants, tourist buses, shopping, public organisms, among others, that will be accessible for people with disabilities or reduced mobility.

But several tourist spots in Argentina also started this way. Lopez lists some of the most advanced in this regard destinations: waterfalls, with a 90% accessibility to Iguazu National Park; Puerto Madryn, where people with mobility problems can watch whales and even dive; on the hill Champaquí, in the mountains of Cordoba, You can reach the top in wheelchair; in La Rioja, Talampaya National Park and also took action Chilecito; Tierra del Fuego is a tour with dogsled; major ski centers such as San Martin de los Andes and Chapelco ski schools there are adapted, even for blind people; in the Perito Moreno National Park there are lifts for access to the catwalks that allow contemplate the glacier; in San Rafael, Mendoza, rafting is offered for people in wheelchairs. And the examples are. “Argentina is moving much. We have a good regulatory framework that does not exist in other countries, and although a lot, It is a good base”, Lopez believes, who also speaks from experience that gives you have a brother in wheelchair. Many of these destinations mentioned were enjoyed by him with his brother. “More and more experiences to live, more places to visit. He feels much safer when traveling by Argentina”, says this graduate in tourism and physical education teacher.

The laws to which it refers are the Tourism Law (N° 25997), promulgated in 2005, requiring national parks to have accessibility, and the specific accessible tourism (N° 25643), promulgated in 2002. Here they are left laid the foundation for the tourism and recreation activities should enable “-from full integration optical functional and psychological- of people with mobility and / or reduced communication, obtained during the same individual and social visitor satisfaction and improved quality of life”. Beach destinations, special places to enjoy the sun in the summer, also they begin to join this move accessible tourism. Lopez stands spas Mar del Plata and Villa Gesell as pioneers. Vice President of the Municipal Tourism Ente Mar del Plata, Valeria Mendez, says the nation that raise of city they have is “for all”, It is what defines as “for all persons with reduced mobility and communication”, whether permanently you live as if you visit the place for holidays. “absolute inclusion implies that everyone can go the beach, walk along the same path, go to the same restaurant, a theater, the whole family travels on places without discrimination”, dice. With this concept work and shaped it into a plan that allowed them to go transforming the city into more inclusive. “We have a tourist guide in which the different degrees of accessibility are included in different places, for everyone to see if you can make certain ride. It is established inaccessible, accessible with assistance, accessible. If there is a historic building that has four steps, we indicated”, details.

Since 2008 the specific task began with beaches, the center of attraction of this seaside resort. “They are expired several tenders beach. We include the new concept of accessibility, the concept of beach for everyone, and there is an annex where accessibility has a high score”, comenta. So they were making that dealers were including facilities for people with difficulty. What was planned as important is that all people could get from the parking lot to the sea. Today the two most classic beaches of Mar del Plata have full accessibility.

“We also work for restaurants had a letter in Braille, menu for celiacs, confiscated, por ejemplo; that hotels were accessible, that places have games for all. That is to say, an accessible city”, dice. And contrasts: “In the downtown area 2007 a person in a wheelchair could not take a tour of the city; today Yes”. For this reason, according to Davis, on the street more disability movement, basically because they can move, can enter theater complexes, to polideportivos, etc. “In the private sector cost, but the entrepreneur began to see that the investments made are for everyone, who end up favoring them because more people come to their places. This is cost-effective”, concludes.

Natalia Puglisi is responsible for Human Resources Management and Bay Varese, an accessible resort of Mar del Plata. Thus he distinguished the Ente Tourism. Specifies that the actions undertaken to achieve this goal were: ramps at all entrances to the spa, whether you go to the garage by car or those who come on foot; in bathrooms, Braille signage at the entrance; family bathrooms for men and women (It is called the disabled toilets which are also used to change babies and accompany children when a parent accompanies the baby or mother to baby); accessible to the tents that allow the arrival halls there by wheelchair; tents and umbrellas on decks to move within that space wheelchair; Amphibious chairs available to those visiting the spa (They are a kind of reposera that can get wet and has wheels); Spa staff trained to assist people with disabilities and a web page with a special program for blind and visually impaired.

“These tasks were not conducted marketing actions, and luckily the spa does not need, but were shares of Corporate Social Responsibility”, Aclara Puglisi. “Every year we see the integration of our customers who need these differentiated services because before they had nowhere to spend the summer, They had limitations that precluded move, as anyone around and enjoy. We are proud that more customers each year who come to enjoy. And not only do they thank us, but those who do not use differential services also, because they feel good to share places and inclusive environments.”

Iguazu National Park, where the Iguazu Falls, is another of accessible destinations. In the walk in the park can be special wheelchairs (designed and manufactured there in the workshops of the park) and style carts used on golf courses to transport disabled; also the tourist information center is in braile, and menus in the restaurant La Selva, They have access ramps, gateways have the width to entering a wheelchair, bathrooms are accessible, Also parking. Ecological trains to travel the lower circuits, upper and Garganta del Diablo have folding seats to fit several wheelchairs if necessary. The program, It is having amongst others these improvements mentioned, Nature is called sin Barreras.

The Head of Accessibility and Social Responsibility park, Karina Modesty, special education teacher and magister in accessibility and universal design,

tells the nation that about 10% Cataract visitors are people with mobility disabilities or age, and that figure increases year by year since there inclusive policy, en 2003. To check the accessibility were invited groups Features: They toured the place blind groups, deaf, the basketball team in wheelchairs, among others. Also staff Iguazu Argentina, park concessionaire, He must have been trained.

“Park made more accessible for all, not just for people with disabilities”, emphasizes Modesty. And stresses the importance of continuing incorporating friendly destinations for everyone. “For the destination is accessible is needed to accompany the city. Here in Iguazu no hotels available, as the American with whom we work; the airport, as well. We must continue working to this end”, concludes. The great activist for this cause, Alejandro Lopez, You agree with this idea: “For there must be an accessible tourism network accessible tourism, a chain of sites return to this friendly place for everyone”.

Veronica Dema | THE NATION