On Friday 11 January 2019 at 11:30, we were honoured to be the guest of the Dodecanese Chamber of Commerce with dozens of citizens attending. There was discussion of positions, facts and statistical studies on a critical issue we are sure will enhance the tourism image and accessibility of the island, with our only goal being “Rhodes for All, Accessible Rhodes”.
As a tourism superpower with appeal to people of all nationalities and age groups, Rhodes embarks on a new, pioneering endeavour to highlight the beauty of the island for people with disabilities, with an understanding of their concerns and safeguarding everyone’s right to tourism. The aim of the event was to provide information and bring together important bodies and businesses from Rhodes to turn the island into a destination that can be accessible to all. Harbouring no delusions, we know that until now, hospitality services for people with disabilities have been very rudimentary. Having studied and gained insight into this sensitive matter, we would like to focus on two key issues.
The first has to do with the island’s infrastructure for people with disabilities, the training of specialised personnel to provide services for them, and availability of specialised equipment and transport services to any destination with purpose-built buses. A limited effort has been made at many hotels and catering establishments to redesign some spaces appropriately. But these locations are obviously few and a large part of our effort is focused on this area. We would like to see more such locations, along with greater individualised services to meet specific needs of all visitors who select Rhodes for their holiday.
The second issue has to do with awareness. Through this event and activities to follow, we envision that all citizens of Rhodes will be motivated to support our efforts. We include entrepreneurs in this group, as they stand to benefit personally and socially by supporting people with disabilities.
Along with the above, part of this broad-based awareness-raising campaign includes providing information to visitors and tourist agencies about the new services available on our island. With each step taken in this direction, Rhodes is transformed into an accessible destination for all, and we hope the island will become a landmark in worldwide tourism.
The Social Cooperative Enterprise (SCE) Asklipeiades is grateful to Gem Travel and Dingo Marketing Teamfor its support of this entire information campaign, which we expect to change tourism for ever – first in Rhodes and then throughout Greece.