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8th Conference on Barrier-free Tourism at ITB Berlin

Do not image a peach, but instead an apple with core that has many parts

Do not image a peach, but instead an apple with core that has many parts

He came as a replacement for Thomas Bareiß, the parliamentary state secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy and member of the German Bundestag, and at the 8th Conference on Barrier-free Tourism at ITB Berlin immediately set the tone for his audience with a personal, spontaneous welcoming speech. “Accessibility is part of what Germany represents as a brand and travel destination“, said Government Executive Officer Alexander Stedtfeld of the Tourism Policy Department. “It is part of what society is about.“ The German National Tourism Board, which is responsible for marketing at home and abroad, was a good choice for organising this meeting of specialists, which had become an international platform, he said. “Do not imagine a peach, but an apple with a hard core that has many parts“, was the comparison Alexander Stedtfeld drew, “and one of the core challenges of the DZT is to ensure ’Travel for All’.“ Last autumn, under the supervision of innovation manager Olaf Schlieper, in order to lend weight to this core message and as the largest exhibitor and partner for best practices, the DZT took part in the 2nd World Summit on Accessible Tourism in Brussels. The government executive officer, who has been in the Tourism Policy Department for three and a half years, recalled that in his early days there were doubts and discussions concerning the development of a federal-wide data collection and certification system for providing travellers with various disabilities with reliable information. This was all behind them now, and for Alexander Stedtfeldt it had been “a big success“. With the ’Travel for All’ system now being widely propagated it was time to “reflect on the right values.“ There were two doubts he wished to dispel to encourage more tourism companies to take part in data collection and certification. “In the long run we are aiming for considerably more than the 2,100 companies we now have“, the government executive officer said. “600 to 800 euros over a period of three years is relatively little.“ What was more, many federal states footed the cost, he added. The second hurdle was the worry that one might “only get through the first information phase.“ Countering that notion, Alexander Stedtfeld said, “one doesn’t complain about a bed & breakfast offering no other meals.“ According to Stedtfeldt, the issue was not about a lack of quality, but “knowing what to expect.“ In that context the decision to invest in accessibility and to take part in data collection and certification was an “excellent concept for planning a company’s future.“      

Sabine Neumann, Redaktionsbüro Schwartz


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