Accessible Tourism and Sustainable Development for All


Forum on Accessible Tourism and Sustainable Development for All

Date: 17 November 2014

Time: 4:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m

Venue: Hall of the Americas, Organization of American States


Tourism is a rapidly growing industry and has become one of the main income generators for many countries in the global South. Ensuring the sustainability of this growing source of income depends heavily on ensuring that its social and economic impact is both positive and inclusive. Greater attention to accessibility in the tourism industry is a major part of this impact. 

The Forum on Accessible Tourism will showcase and promote accessible tourism as an effective means for poverty eradication, employment generation and social inclusion. Successful models for improving accessibility in the tourism industry will also be presented during the Forum. Featuring industry players from the global South and North, the Forum will provide governments, NGOs and the private sector with a platform to showcase promising and replicable strategies for promoting and developing accessible tourism. By having this conversation in the context of the Global South-South Development Expo, the forum aims to provide a springboard for further engagement of all relevant stakeholders on developing strategies and policies that will effectively promote accessible tourism in countries, especially in the global South.

Taking the form of an interactive roundtable, the forum will feature successful policies and initiatives from Latin America, Europe, and North America.

Accessible Tourism and Sustainable Development: Making the Case

Travel and tourism account for more than 9 per cent of global economic output and account for around 10 per cent of jobs worldwide. With its real and potential contributions to social development and economic growth, it is important to ensure that tourism is developed in a sustainable and inclusive way.

By broadening the scope of the available tourist clientele, a focus on accessibility in the tourism industry enriches the economic contribution of tourism. Just as importantly, attention to accessibility in tourism brings a shift to the social and infrastructural strategies applied in the industry. Accessible and sustainable tourism products go beyond ad hoc accommodation to ensuring that all persons, regardless of their physical or cognitive needs, are able to use and enjoy the available amenities in an equitable manner. This broad attention to accessibility can have far reaching social impacts, not only addressing myriad challenges faced by the more than one billion people living with disabilities across the globe, but also encouraging a more multigenerational focus in development planning.

Accessible Tourism

Accessible tourism is a form of tourism that involves a collaborative process among stakeholders. A successful tourism product requires effective partnerships and cooperation across many sectors at the national, regional and international levels. From idea to implementation, a single destination visit normally involves many factors, including accessing information, long-distance travel of various sorts, local transportation, accommodation, retail, and dining. The impact of accessible tourism thus goes beyond the tourist beneficiaries to the wider society, engraining accessibility into the social and economic ethos..

As the international community accelerates its efforts to realize the Millennium Development Goals and map out a forward-looking development framework beyond 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations, during the 2013 High-level Meeting on Disability and Development, underlined the importance of ensuring accessibility by following the universal design approach and removing barriers to persons with disabilities to inclusive development. For those countries where tourism has and can prove a viable contributor to economic development, encouraging public and private enterprises to make it easier for persons with disabilities to access to the essential goods and services driving the tourist industry not only helps to fulfill this commitment, it encourages partnerships, and also encourages the private sector to tap into the opportunities that remain untapped in addressing the needs of persons with disabilities.

Structure of the Forum

The DSPD Forum will take the form of an interactive round table discussion preceded by a keynote address. The keynote address will set the tone of the discussion, outlining the benefits of accessible tourism to the global South, both as good business, and smart development strategy, and will introduce the role of internal and external partnerships in developing accessible tourism policies and practice.

After the address the Forum will be open to discussion led by the moderator and the panel of innovators, who will present successful and developing initiatives of accessible tourism.

In a first round of the moderated discussion, the moderator will introduce the panelists and each panelist will have the opportunity to present and discuss their accessible tourism initiatives and the impact of these initiatives on inclusive sustainable development. After the initial round, the moderator will post a series of questions to panelists focusing on the role of tourism industry in countries and regions, current accessibility status, existing policies for accessible tourism, policy gaps, challenges for future development, importance of partnerships in the success of the initiative, sustainability of the initiative and the chance of replication. Finally, the moderator will open the floor to questions and comments that will allow participants the opportunity to explore the effective means of pursuing these and/or similar accessible tourism strategies in various contexts. Throughout the guided discussion, attention will also be paid to applying the lessons learned to broader development goals and partnership strategies for realizing sustainable development for all.

At the end, the moderator will summarize the discussions and will provide closing remarks including possible recommendations on effectively promoting accessible tourism as an inclusive development strategy and the role of partnerships and cooperation in this endeavour. A summary report with recommendations will be developed after the forum and will be available for all the participants of the forum on the web.


Yiping Zhou

Envoy of the UN Secretary General and Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation - Yiping Zhou

Yiping Zhou was appointed Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation in May 2014 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

As Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation Mr. Zhou advocates for South-South development cooperation on a global basis, facilitates partnerships and provides policy advice on critical South-South dynamics.

Mr. Zhou concurrently serves as Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), and is responsible for the promotion and coordination of South-South cooperation in the Global South and on a United Nations system-wide basis. Mr. Zhou is also the Editor-in-Chief of Cooperation South — one of UNDP’s signature development journals.

Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Zhou served as Deputy Director and Senior Policy Adviser of the UNOSSC from April 1997 to October 2004; Regional Programme Officer of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific from April 1992 to March 1997; and Project Management Officer at the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) from November 1985 to April 1992.

Prior to joining the UN system, Mr. Zhou worked as Policy Officer in the Department of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade of the Government of the People’s Republic of China from January 1980 to October 1984. He also served as a distinguished diplomat in the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations from November 1984 to October 1985.

Mr. Zhou is a recognized economist, who graduated in 1977 from one of China’s elite universities of higher learning, Fudan University of Shanghai. He subsequently pursued further applied academic research and studies at the Canberra College of Advanced Education in Australia from 1978 to 1979.

Daniela Bas

Daniela Bas (Moderator) - Director, Division for Social Policy and Development

Daniela Bas is the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DSPD/UNDESA). As a political scientist and social development professional, Ms. Bas has accumulated close to 10 years’ experience in the United Nations system promoting social development and social inclusion. Her work outside of the UN system has also focused on inclusive development, including her work as the Italian representative designated by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on the topic “Tourism for All” to the European Commission (Belgium).

Michel Trudel

Michel Trudel Consultant,Tourism and Transport with KÉROUL

Michel Trudel is a Consultant of Tourism and Transport with KÉROUL, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of tourism and culture for people with physical disabilities. Mr. Trudel joined Keroul in January 2010 and is now based in Montreal, Canada.

Pablo Ramón Ortega

Pablo Ramón Ortega, Présidente d'Honneur de la CNTG (Confédération nationale des travailleurs de Guinée)

Pablo Ramón Ortega is a Spanish national and Manager of the business network: Asociación NATIVE Turismo Para Todos (Association NATIVE Tourism for All). Before he became the associate Member of ENAT and the Founder of the Asociación NATIVE Turismo Para Todos (Association NATIVE Tourism for All) since 2009, he served as editor of magazines, correspondent of news agency, researcher, and sociologist of the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Mr. Ramón received his university degree in sociology from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1988.

Magino Corporán Lorenzo

Magino Corporán Lorenzo, Director of Consejo Nacional de Discapacidad (CONADIS) [the National Council for Disabilities], in the Dominican Republic

Magino Corporán Lorenzo is Director of Consejo Nacional de Discapacidad (CONADIS) [the National Council for Disabilities], in the Dominican Republic.As Director of CONADIS, Magino Coporán Lorenzo represents an agency built on years of legal reform, government action and civil society engagement focused on ensuring the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities in the Dominican Republic. Established in 2000 through the General Law on Disability, CONADIS supports partnership with civil society to ensure that, both in policy and practice, the Dominican Republic takes a disability-inclusive approach to social and economic development.

Jesús Hernández-Galán

Jesús Hernández-Galán , Director of Universal Accessibility for “Foundation ONCE”

Jesús Hernández-Galán is the Director of Universal Accessibility for “Foundation ONCE”. He also serves as the president of the “Technological Platform eVIA” and Vice-President of the “European network for accessible Tourism ENAT”. He is the Chairman of the AENOR Universal Accessibility and design for all Standardization Technical Committee and chairman of M/420 Standardization mandate to European Committee in support of European accessibility requirements for public procurement in the built environment. He holds a Doctor degree in Forest Engineering and a MBA degree.

Juan José Galeano

Juan José Galeano - Executive Officer of Red de Turismo Responsables (RTR, Responsible Tourism Network)

Juan José Galeano is the Executive Officer of Red de Turismo Responsables (RTR, Responsible Tourism Network) Global, a Buenos Aires based organization with the objective of developing common indicators for responsibly managed tourism. He is also the founder and president of the Association Generación Par and serves as the Focal Point for Latin America and the Caribbean for the United Nations Environmental Programme. He has a postgraduate university degree in Results and Impact Assessment of Organizations and Public Administration from National University of the Littoral.