In October 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations held a joint session to mark the Decade of Disabled Persons (1983 -1992) and adopted a resolution that proclaimed December 3 the International Day of Disabled Persons.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights invited member states to emphasise the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons with the aim of achieving full and equal enjoyment of human rights and the participation of persons with disabilities in society.
By signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and passing the Law on Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Republic of Croatia obliged to take all adequate measure to ensure that persons with disabilities (among others):
- have access to tourist offers
- have access to tourist destinations
- have access to tourist activities
Furthermore, it also adopted the obligation to recognize the right to work of persons with disabilities, i.e., to promote employment opportunities and career advancement of persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as to provide assistance in finding, obtaining, retaining and returning to work.
Globalisation and modern technologies have influenced the emergence of new trends in tourism, new possibilities were opened in the field of tourism, and we could say that it became accessible to a great number of people.
Accessible tourism means that everyone can participate in tourist experiences. Different people have diverse needs, whether they are connected by age, physical condition or preferences.
To achieve equality for children and persons with disabilities, The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has been preparing and implementing a number of measures that encourage the Croatian market to enable equal enjoyment of tourist offers to persons with disabilities, but also to include them in the labour market.
In order to reduce obstacles and barriers, The Ministry collaborates with other associations that represent persons with disability, because only through synergy can we achieve the set goal - equalizing the opportunities of persons with disabilities.
The Ministry is responsible for 3 measures and 2 special goals (Improving the already built accessible environment and transport and Improving the accessibility of the content of public life and strengthening security in crisis situations) that are part of the action plan National Strategy for Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2021-2024 that is currently undergoing the adoption process.
EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE
The project of the high school Centre for Education Zagreb, in partnership with Centre for Education “Vinko Bek”, Centre for Education “Slava Raškaj”, Zagreb and School of Electrical Engineering, Zagreb, was financed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports through the public call to vocational and art high schools for the promotion and strengthening of competencies of vocational professions in tourism.
The handbook gives clear guidelines on how to offer services to guests with different disabilities.
The projects of the Associations of teachers in hospitality education are intended for children and young people without parental care and children/young people with disabilities. Those are group culinary workshops that aim to train them for the hospitality labour market and ensure their future. The projects cover creating and making of cutlery and custom kitchen tools for specific needs. The Association is also the leader of the project that trains hospitality workers to provide services to guests with disabilities.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports supported a number of projects of the Association through the public call for co-financing projects of vocational associations in tourism and/or hospitality.
The project is a response to insufficient development of alternative adapted tourist content for persons with disabilities in Istria, as well as adapted tourism and recreational content in the open, to the lack of various networked civil societies in the direction of development of adapted forms of tourism, and to tourism staff that is poorly educated in accompanying and guiding persons with disabilities. Among other, the project was responsible for the idea of creating a boardwalk for the blind and visually impaired on Učka.
This project of the Pula Tourist Guides Association, in partnership with the Association of the Blind of Istria County, was co-financed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports through the public call for co-financing projects of vocational associations in tourism and/or hospitality.
- Project of the Association of Tourist Guides "Mihovil" Šibenik
The project of the Association of Tourist Guides "Mihovil" Šibenik, done in partnership with the Association of Persons with Disabilities “Sveti Bartolomej”, engaged in educating tourist guides in the field of accessible tourism and better understanding of different types of disabilities to achieve easier communication with persons with disabilities. Tactile plexiglass boards were made during the implementation of the project.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports co-financed the project through the public call for co-financing projects of vocational associations in tourism and/or hospitality.
On 3 December 2021, in Zagreb, The Ministry organised the TOURISM FOR ALL conference, intended for tourism service providers (economic sector in tourism and tourism associations) and to vocational high schools that participate in the Ministry programme entitled Promotion of professions and that often include this subject in their projects. The goal of the conference is to raise awareness on accessible tourism.
The conference covered the accessibility of the Croatian tourist offer to tourists with disabilities (infrastructure accessibility or skills of tourist service providers for proper provision of services to tourists with disabilities) and tourism as potential labour market for persons with disabilities that aims to achieve social inclusion of persons with disabilities in tourism jobs, identify adaptations that might be necessary etc.
Examples of good practice that emerged through projects financed by the Ministry and other sources were also presented at the conference.
A project conducted by high schools entitled Caring for a guest with a disability was one of the presented projects/examples of good practice that engages in caring for guests with disabilities. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports financed the project and its result is a handbook (printed and electronic versions available to everyone) as well as short videos with vivid examples of caring for guests with different disabilities.