The new EU funded project Greenways4ALL aims to move forward towards the creation of accessible tourism products linked to greenways.
Greenways4ALL will help improve accessibility to and around greenways, the quality of the tourism supply aimed at persons with disability, and the dissemination of greenway resources as infrastructures for everyone.
Greenways, which are non-motorized routes that mostly make use of disuse railway lines and canal towpaths, are probably the most accessible routes providing access to nature and open-air leisure activities for everyone, including persons with disability.
However, and with few exceptions, despite the potential that the tourist destinations of greenways enjoy, travellers are not offered the facilities to acquire a comprehensive and accessible tourism product based on greenways. This is because the offer of the various resources making up a trip are neither structured nor organized.
With this project, whose full name is “Accessible Tourism on European Greenways: Greenways For All”, we aim to move forward towards a product which leverages the accessibility value chain, moving from an accessible route to an accessible trip or experience. Accessibility will therefore be the element common to all the resources making up the tourism product: travel the greenway, eat at local restaurants, stay in the immediate vicinity of the greenway, visit museums, or do some shopping, among other options.
In the 18 months that the project will last, at least 2 fully accessible tourism products will be designed. One on the Vía verde de la Sierra (Cadiz-Seville) and another on the Ecopista / Vía verde do Dao (Viseu, Portugal). The project includes various tasks such as the preparation of a methodology for the implementation of accessible greenways, the building of databases of accessible resources in these two areas, the organization of workshops and technical visits, local accessibility agreements between the stakeholders in the area, thereby fostering public-private collaboration and, finally, the design of offers and accessible products.
The project will also include training in accessible tourism for enterprises, and assessments of the designed products by groups with different special needs (testing groups). In this way we will succeed in moving from “accessible resource” to “accessible product”.
All these activities will be accompanied by various promotional and communication actions, such as dissemination over the web, awareness-raising campaigns on social networks, the production of a brochure, the publishing of newsletters, and the holding of two conferences, one at the start of the project in Madrid and the other at the end, in Viseu.
This project will enable us to elaborate equally on the consolidation of the image of European Greenways as an accessible and environmentally sustainable tourist destination, and on the contribution of the greenways to the economic diversification of the rural world.
The project is coordinated by the Spanish Railways Foundation; the EGWA provides the European dimension and coordinates communication. It will be implemented by a consortium formed by 9 partners from Spain and Portugal, and one of a European dimension, the European Greenways Association : Four SMEs specialized in accessible and experiential tourism will also take part.
The Project is 75% co-funded by the COSME Programme of the EASME (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) of the European Union for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. It has a total budget of €166,148.60 and a completion period of 18 months.
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