Accessible Tourism in Israel
Accessible Tourism in Israel
The Ministry of Tourism of the State of Israel understand the importance of accessible tourism and makes a lot of efforts to ensure that tourism in Israel is accessible, nondiscriminatory, inclusive and suitable for people with disabilities and the elderly. The Ministry is sparing no efforts and is working on achieving this goal through various channels, including legislation and even designated an employee to coordinate these efforts and advance this important subject.
Israel realizes the importance for accessible tourism for its social reasons as well as for its economic benefits. Moreover, Israel recognizes the cause of accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities as an important, useful and non-political platform to connect with countries all over the world. Accessible tourism is a great tool to encourage tourism to Israel.
Israel has many regulations and legislation for accessibility requirements and is committed to advance legislation that specifically for accessible tourism to ensure that hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions etc. will be fully accessible and inclusive for everyone. The interesting and unique aspect of the legislation on accessible tourism, is that in addition to requiring physical accessibility it requires service providers to give accessible and inclusive services to all. In addition, the legislation obligates to prove accessible information on tourism. This means that any place visited by tourists must be physically accessible, train its employees on providing accessible services, make its website and reservation system accessible and publish its accessibility arrangements and any adjustments made to suit people with disabilities.
Moreover, as a member of the United Nations supports the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. The UN defines people with disabilities as the largest minority in the world, which therefore presents a huge target population for accessible tourism. In Israel, almost 29% of the tourists in Israel are have some kind of accessibility needs due to a disability or age (in addition to their families or caregivers that would accompany them on their trips). In the world, there are an estimated 200 million tourist with accessibility needs. Therefore, accessible tourism has a great business and economic potential and this field is growing continuously.
However, there are still many challenges ahead of Israel to have fully accessible tourism, such as:
· Improving accessibility on inter-city public transportation, and tourist buses for groups of peoples with disabilities;
· Increasing the number of accessible hotel rooms, so that larger groups can arrive
· Increasing the number of tourist attractions that are accessible
· Train tour guides to provide accessible tours
· Providing more reliable and detailed information about accessibility for tourists with disabilities.
Access Israel is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to promote accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities and the elderly in all spheres of life and to enable them to live with dignity, respect and full independence. Among our many projects, we promote accessible tourism in hotels, restaurants, theaters, public transportation, tourist destinations and tour guides for accessible travel.