EWORX Supports European Network for Accessible Tourism
The European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) is a Belgian registered non-profit association made up of organisations related to the tourism and travel industry. The network's principal aim is to help tourism businesses meet the access needs of the growing market of seniors and, disabled visitors, as well as and visitors with long-term health problems and families with small children. Good access is seen as a key part of a destination’s quality, that benefits everyone,rather than being an 'extra'.
The ENAT network started two years ago as a pilot project co-funded by the European Commission and nine sponsoring organisations from six EU countries. The ENAT project was led by EWORX, Greece and gathered over 400 members from 50 countries by the end of 2007.
Entering its new, independent phase as a non-profit association, ENAT is again supported by EWORX, which has taken on the role of ENAT National Coord-inator for Greece. EWORX also provides the ENAT Secretariat with office facilities at its premises in Halandri, Athens.
Spyros Michailidis, Managing Director of EWORX, is a member of the ENAT Board. As one of the two ENAT Vice-Presidents he is responsible for overseeing and advising ENAT on all aspects of the use of ICTs in tourism, including research, on-line services, and information technology systems for management, bookings and other key issues.
EWORX has worked in the accessible tourism field for a number of years, having developed the Europe for All accessible venues information service in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Tourism, the Greek NGO ”Disability Now” and an international consortium of tourism specialists. The service is online at: www.europeaforall.com.
”As a software and internet services company, we place a strong focus on maximising accessibility and usability in our products. It is essential that users can get what they want and need from our products in a convenient and satisfying way”, says Spyros Michailidis. ”We see access to tourism experiences as a right for all citizens, both in Greece and in Europe as a whole. As a company, we can make a difference by demonstrating our social responsibility towards users who are too often ignored or forgotten by some sections of industry. But with the ageing population, increasing numbers of visitors will have some ailments or disabilities and the travel and tourism sector needs to be ready and equipped to welcome these customers. Offering good hospitality and services to all customers is also a matter of business sense. It affects the companies’ bottom line and the Greek economy as whole. We would like to encourage the Greek tourism sector to get onboard with ENAT, so that they can learn how to improve their offers and keep visitors coming to Greece”, says Michailidis.
ENAT national coordinators are also signed up in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, and others are expected to follow soon.
ENAT’s Coordination offices give information and support to the tourism sector at the national and local levels, working in their respective languages. In Greece, EWORX works closely on tourism matters with Disability Now, which is also a Board Member of the European Network.
Extending ENAT's web of national coordination offices. There are currenty national coordinators in Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, giving information and support at national and local levels working in their respective languages.