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Democracy needs inclusiveness

Democracy needs inclusiveness

8th Conference on Barrier-free Tourism at ITB Berlin

Jürgen Dusel, the federal government commissioner for matters relating to persons with disabilities, plays with the trade show’s names. According to the lawyer and politician, who has impaired eyesight, ITB Berlin 2019 is an “inclusive tourism trade show or a barrier-free, international tourism trade show.“ The slogan of his tenure is “Democracy needs inclusiveness”. In his view inclusiveness means everyone in this society sharing responsibility. There was a deeper, social dimension to accessibility, he said. Jürgen Dusel “is deeply convinced that these are the two sides to the same coin.“ The question was not whether, but how to ensure accessibility. That was “a fundamental decision on the part of our society“, said Jürgen Dusel. “I repeat, we want to live in a country where everyone is treated equally and has equal opportunities.“ Accessibility is an essential part of that. “It is above all the responsibility of the state to ensure that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is respected in practice“, the lawyer said. He called for “inclusiveness to become an accepted standard. Accessibility should be as much a sign of quality as sustainability.“ The same thing applied to travel services, he added. “Accessibility has to be a part of them in order to do inclusiveness justice“, said Jürgen Dusel. “Only then can there be ‘Tourism for All’.“

This was not something that could be achieved by the by, he said. “It needs expertise to ensure accessibility from the start“, said the government commissioner for matters relating to persons with disabilities. In Germany there are nine million people with severe disabilities, as well as those with 30 to 40 per cent disabilities, that makes 13 million. “They form part of a social network. For the tourism industry that meant adding relatives and accompanying persons to those customers, said Jürgen Dusel, pointing to a potentially attractive market. People with disabilities “want to be involved, be part of society and spend money on trips and travelling“. Addressing the participants at the plenary session of the 8th Conference on Barrier-free Tourism at ITB Berlin 2019, he called for accessibility to become a generally accepted standard that was integral to every tourism service. Jürgen Dusel: “We would be well-advised to examine this topic simply due to the demographic shift.“

Sabine Neumann, Redaktionsbüro Schwartz

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