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On Wednesday 2nd March 2016, the Minister for Tourism Dr Edward Zammit Lewis and the Parliamentary Secretary for Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing Dr Justyne Caruana addressed a business breakfast entitled Accessible Tourism for All.

In his opening remarks, the Minister for Tourism stated that accessible tourism is one of the major issues that is currently being addressed by the global tourism industry. He remarked that with the number of international travellers exceeding 1 billion, countries are increasingly treating tourism as an important part of their national development strategies, viewing tourism as an effective driver of economic growth and inclusive development, creating jobs and wellbeing for their respective communities. Dr Edward Zammit Lewis commented that given such scenario, the provision of safe, convenient and economical transport and other tourism?related infrastructure must also be seen a key factor for the success of tourism.

“In this context, accessible tourism for all is not only about providing access to people with disabilities, but about creating universally designed environments that can support people that may have temporary disabilities and mobility issues, including families with young children, and the ever increasing ageing population. In parallel, it also creates a safer environment for employees to work in,” said the Minister for Tourism.

Dr Edward Zammit Lewis noted that travellers with disabilities represent a growing tourism market and tackling effectively accessibility within the tourism sector will result in a number of advantages that will generate a further competitive advantage. Moreover, the Minister explained that expanding the market by improving products and services associated with accessibility, will boost our market potential and improve our image by enhancing the quality and competitiveness of our tourism offering. Read more

The event was also addressed by MTA CEO Mr Paul Bugeja, MTA Director Licensing & QA Mr David Mifsud, representatives of MHRA, ITS, KNPD and other entities. Special guest speakers at the business breakfast were Ms Daniela Bas, United Nations Director for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), Ms Marina Diotallevi, Programme Manager Ethics & Social Responsibility from UNWTO, both of whom travelled purposely to Malta to attend the launch of this initiative.

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