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NEW OBJECTIVE: TOURISM WITHOUT BARRIER
Funded by the european territorial cooperation programme
Greece - Italy 2007-2013

On 29th September 2015, with the NO BARRIER International conference, Bari was the European capital of accessible tourism for one day.

Strengthening measures of social inclusion addressing people with disabilities through accessible tourism. But also proving that investing in facilities for a better usability is profitable in terms of both new economic opportunities and social inclusion, as well as for life quality improvement.

Two objectives were thereby achieved by N.o. Barrier, a project between Italy and Greece based on tourism without barriers addressing psycho-physical, sensory and cognitive and intellectual disabilities, having the Metropolitan City of Bari as its leading partner. A long path ended on 29th September 2015 in the main city of Puglia, in the name of the slogan "We care about everyone's holiday": an international conference which turned Bari into the European capital of accessible tourism.

Not only the whole Apulian project network with its Greek partners, but also the highest European body of this industry took part in the event, namely Enat, the European network of accessible tourism, in the person of its Chairman, the Italian Mrs Annagrazia Laura.

The conference did not focus on the project only: starting from the project and its innovative systemic approach – an example of excellence, so as to be selected among the territorial cooperation best practices during the last Thessaloniki International Conference – the debate extended to the whole tourism chain, to the key role played by education and to some best practices such as the one implemented by the Cyprus Airport, an example of excellence of transport without barriers.

For more information, we suggest to download the International Conference acts in the download section of the project web site www.nobarrier-project.eu.

 
During the NO BARRIER International conference, the project results have been presented: 13 accessible tourist itineraries, a web portal and dedicated apps.

During the NO BARRIER conference, the network of actions implemented to reduce physical, social and cultural barriers hindering the tourist experience have been presented: 13 accessible tourist itineraries – also considering their deseasonalisation – together with their multimedia usability both through the web portal www.nobarrier-project.eu and through the free NO BARRIER App launched during the meeting opened, among other people, by the Greek Management Responsible Mr Dimitris Karavatos and, for the Puglia Region, by senator Mr Giovanni Procacci, who announced that the project would be integrated with regional policies and structures.

Started by the no longer existing Province of Bari (Community Policies Service), now Metropolitan City of Bari, the NO BARRIER project was funded by the Greece-Italy 2007-2013 ETCP (Axis III Measure 3.3), created between Italy and Greece in partnership with the Province of Lecce, the Municipalities of Bari and Nardò, the University of Bari – Cirpas, Ipres, the Greek regions of Western Greece and Ionian Islands.

During their implementation, the project phases were constantly shared, through seminars and technical meetings, both with the disabilities associations and with the local tourist system network: in fact, public bodies (mayors, municipal councillors and managers, social services, transport services, local healthcare system, Iat system – Tourist information and welcoming, Puglia Promozione) and private operators (tour operators, tourist facilities, beaches, shops) were involved.

All this led to the creation of 13 itineraries, identified both for their cultural and environmental attractiveness and for the usability offered by their structures and facilities, also the social and healthcare ones.

Five itineraries were created in the Metropolitan City of Bari: "The city of Bari"; "The Ravines and Altamura" (Municipalities of Gravina di Puglia and Altamura); "The Adriatic Coast and its surroundings" (Mola di Bari, Rutigliano, Conversano, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli); "The Aragonese itinerary" (Giovinazzo, Bitonto and Molfetta); "Valle d'Itria" (Castellana Grotte, Alberobello, Locorotondo, Putignano).

Five itineraries, too, for the territory of the Province of Lecce: "From the Baroque to the forest of Lecce" (Lecce, Rauccio Park); "Terra d'Otranto: eastwards, from Castro to Otranto" (Castro, Otranto, "Costa d'Otranto" natural park, Santa Maria di Leuca); "Ionian itinerary: from the Beautiful City to the Messapian Ugento" (Gallipoli, Ugento, Litorale di Ugento natural park); "Finibus Terrae: southwards, from the Village of Specchia to Leuca Cape" (Specchia, Santa Maria di Leuca); "In close contact with nature: from the Nardò territory to Porto Cesareo" (Nardò, Porto Selvaggio natural park, Porto Cesareo and its protected area).

Two itineraries were identified by the Province of Lecce partner for the Brindisi territory: "The gateway to the East: the upper Salento area, from Brindisi to Torre Guaceto" (Brindisi, Torre Guaceto nature reserve) and "Among the olive groves of the White City" (Ostuni, rural area, Dune Costiere natural park).

Finally, in the territory of the Western Greece region, the itinerary "Discovering Olympia games" in the Peloponnese (Katakolo, Pyrgos, Ilidas, Olympia, Skafidias).

 
Final considerations on opportunities and threats encountered within the NO BARRIER project.

As underlined during the International Conference by Mrs Arbore from the Metropolitan City of Bari, project leader partner, the NO BARRIER Project experience consisted in the implementation of envisaged activities, at the end of which the following conclusions and guidelines can be drawn for future actions to be taken in the field of accessible tourism:

  • The Project made it possible to streamline and integrate in a unique offer, usable online, what is already offered by the territory involved, regarding tourist accessibility

  • The experience gained thanks to this Project represents a know-how that, also in the future, can be used to fill in the gaps encountered in the itineraries identified, such as the prevalence of a tourist offer based on “cultural and religious” attractions and almost always addressing people with motor disabilities, rather than people having other forms of disabilities.

  • The N.O. BARRIER Project favoured the creation of a constructive dialogue and a debate between public and private subjects involved, uniquely aiming at making territories more competitive in terms of tourist accessibility.

The Puglia Region has a great potential for development and areas for improvement it can continue working on; we are not at zero but we still have a lot to do.

Lessons should be learned from the wealth of information acquired thanks to the NO BARRIER Project in order to reach, in the medium/long term, universal hospitality standards comparable to some European excellences but, above all, compliant with the European strategic guidelines, indicating the path to be followed to make the territories of Member States universally accessible.