Day 1 Session 3 English Barrier-free tourism
Thank you to everyone for participating in our first two in-person sessions. We had the opportunity to listen to our founders and partners Martin Essl of the Essl Foundation, Catalina Saieh of Fundacion Descubreme and Jesús Hernánndez from Fundacion ONCE with their visions for this conference. We were also able to learn from Jesús Hernánndez from Fundacion ONCE on the advances that have been made and the lessons that we've learned in terms of accessibility as well as some of the challenges that we still have to overcome in order to build a society that is inclusive and accessible for all, and particularly for people with disabilities. Then we had the opportunity to speak with two international experts Ana Peláez, the High Commissioner for Solidarity and International Cooperation, a grupo social ONCE and Vice Presidents of the European Disability Forum, as well as Inmaculada Placencia Porrero.
A senior expert in disability and inclusion at the Directorate General for Employment Affairs, inclusion at the European Commission. We also had moderator Michael Fembek, the Director of the Zero Project. They shared their vision of the challenges of understanding accessibility as being a human right of people with disabilities, and how technologies can be used as a tool to facilitate the autonomy of people with disabilities. Without a doubt, accessibility is across cutting issue in all aspects of life, and we want to continue to show you more initiatives that will contribute to its full accomplishment. As I said at the start, the conference will take place in a hybrid format. There will be a mix of in-person, remote and prerecorded sessions to continue with the program.
I will now leave you with Andres Beroggi and Maria Ignacia Rodriguez from Fundación Descúbreme, who will accompany you throughout the day with especially prepared program of events. Thank you, Carola. I'm so happy to be part of the Zero Project Conference 2022 for Latin America and the Spanish speaking community. I am Andres Beroggi.
I am the head of management and diversity of tFundación Descúbreme. I am a tall, a white man, tall, wearing glasses with about 50 years old, with not much hair. Thank you, Carola. I'm also very proud of being part of this conference and working for this relevant mission as the construction of these world without barriers for people with disabilities. As you said, I am Maria Ignacia Rodriguez. I am a white woman of average height, dark hair, and I also wear glasses.
I am from Fundación Descúbreme. I work as the head of the Coordination International coordination, and also the Zero Project Coordination. Here we have a great our great mission of expanding these world without barriers towards the Spanish speaking world and towards our region.
We know that in our region there are a lot of efforts to promote inclusion. But many times these initiatives are not connected, do not communicate, and they do not create any kind of synergy due to the lack of knowledge and networks among them. We need to strengthen these links and create this community, since we believe that the collaborative work will help us create the world without barriers. I want to thank our sponsors for their constant commitment to create this more accessible and inclusive world. This third version of our conference is done in a hybrid format. It means that we will have some live moments, some recorded moments in a virtual environment in order to continue participating in the rest of our program, I would like to tell you about how our Web platform works.
We have a broadcasting channel with two available languages, English and Spanish, in order to expand this content to those who are interested or need. Also, we have international sign languages for all the sessions and also subtitles in Spanish. We also transmit the conference in a continuous way in YouTube.
You can also check a detailed agenda in the main web page of the platform, which is latinamerica.zeroproject.org One of the features of the platform is that it allows you to schedule in your calendar decisions that you may be interested in. But if you cannot see the sessions at the moment of that broadcasting, do not worry about that because you will be able to see them at the end of the day. They will be available in the platform during the next two weeks, along with their material to download for each session.
You will also have the possibility to have contact with those who are connected in the platform through that networking button through which you can create meetings among participants. In order to continue with our program today, we will present this session called Tourism Without Barriers. Due to the sanitary situation of the last two years, tourism has is an industry that has been affected and it's very important to highlight and to guarantee the inclusion of people with disabilities in order to recover the tourism industry. Leisure, recreation and welfare are something very important for the development of a good life. And from this perspective, we invite you to reflect on the role of accessible tourism and without barriers for the inclusion of people with disabilities.
For this interesting conversation, we have the moderation of Jesús Hernánndez, Director of Universal Accessibility and Innovation of Fundación ONCE, and Vice President of the European Network for Accessible Tourism. We speak as the speakers we have Glenda Durán, who is the executive director of Fundación Eres, which is actually an organization of unicycle. That is a device that allows people with disabilities to have access to areas. Remote areas with us is also Renat Anpilogov from Global4all, a Russian platform of information and booking without barriers. This sign for tourists with disabilities is Andrés Villagrán from Wheel the World, a Chilean company that offers accessible trips for people with disabilities, their families and friends. Bastienne Paliz from LatinAmerica for All and Ecuadorean travel agency that offers trips to this certain destinations for wheelchair users.
We invite you all to seat this interesting session. Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Jesús Hernánndez Galan. I'm the director of accessibility and innovation at the Fundación ONCE in Spain. I'd like to welcome you to this panel on tourism.
without barriers. Which is part of the Zero Project Conference in Latin America. And I'd like to begin with telling you a little bit what we do at the Fundación ONCE and the projects that we're developing in terms of providing tourism for all or tourism without borders.
Fundación ONCE was founded more than 30 years ago. It is developed by people with disabilities to improve the quality of life of those with disabilities in our society. It is one of the largest foundations, the largest foundations in the world working for and with people with disabilities. We have more than 117,000 people working within the entire country, and our resources come from the lottery and donations from different companies.
And so we have a large number of reasons to work with in Spain every year. And it's a very comprehensive, holistic outlook within our foundation. We began to work on eliminating architectural barriers in the 1990s and we are now focused really on technology and how technology can improve the lives of people with disabilities, how accessible technology can be a real powerful tool in improving the quality of life, of.
And so we are looking at accessible technologies that can really make enormous changes in the context and reality of people with disabilities in terms of tourism. We have continued to expand to our comprehensive and holistic vision of the projects that we can be involved with, that we look to develop tourism destinations, improve the transport to these locations and the accessibility of all tourism destinations. We believe that this is really fundamental work because we looked at tourism from the point of view of even a hotel or a destination. How can we improve and incorporate more accessibility features for people with disabilities? We have signed several agreements with different organizations and agencies, with different government organizations, both at the National and international level. One of the biggest milestones that we have been able to achieve in the last few years has been the development of an ISO standard. On accessible tourism.
This is something that we were able to achieve after a lot of joint work with this, the International Association of Tourism. And we have looked to work with the uni, which is the standardization authority in Spain. And so we have performed several works with them in order to develop different agreements. And collaborating and working together. With different international organizations as well.
In order to work on tourism standards with uni we have been able to develop. Of the types of projects that should come from the centralization organizations. And from the Fundación ONCE we have also been able to work on different initiatives that have expanded the scope of this ISO agreements, including regulation that has been able to improve accessibility in different countries. It is we've tried to develop the standard that can be applied to any tourism sector in any country, any destination, and be able to implement accessibility no matter the current level of accessibility. And that that country. We have also been working from everything from countries with very high levels of accessibility, such as Spain, Japan, Canada, the United States.
Where. We have carried out different collaborative works over the past few years. But we've also worked with countries that perhaps are not as developed in this area. The ISO standard has been applied from the moment that people we want to have it implemented, from the moment someone decides that they want to travel and they begin their research gathering information, we want all of that information to be accessible from the first moment that they decide they want to travel. Then we want to look at the destination, the infrastructure, the experiences that they can undergo. We want to bring together all that information in an accessible format.
And so in all of the areas that we've been able to implement the standards, we've seen changes, for example, in terms of the transport that is available at different destinations so that people are able to move about the destination without any problems. We've looked to we see this as a really fundamental element because I've had my own experience when I've traveled, where I've been to a hotel that said that it was accessible And then when I got there, yes, the hotel itself was accessible. But then when I tried to move about the city, I found myself coming up against impossible situations because they hadn't developed accessible transport, both in terms of public and private transport at the destination city. So
this is really fundamental to incorporate accessible tourism at the level. And then as we say, the ISO has also tried to establish what does that mean when a hotel or motel is accessible? We want it to be something that is standardized so that any tourist that arrives there can enjoy all of the accessibility features at any type of accommodation. We also want to establish what are the infrastructure standards for a restaurant, for example, so they can provide the highest quality of service. We've realized that accessibility is a question of quality, providing quality experiences for tourist destinations. So we have also introduced a cross-cutting private form that looks to approach all of these aspects of tourism.
So infrastructure is extremely important to the tourist experience. So this is an ISO standard that we have tried to develop that is very global, very holistic looks at all of the requirements that someone may needs, and so that we can make sure that every experience can be very satisfactory, very high quality for any tourist. So this standard has already been published by the IATA. and.
We hope that. Everyone who can take advantage of this license. Can become more interested into it and get onto the platform in order to be able to see the full regulation. Of accessibility. So if you go to. Accessibility, it's written in Spanish.
So a c e s s i b l e if we can raise it into the chat so that you can then be taken to the more information on our ISO standard that we have been able to establish in Spain. Okay. So I think with that I will conclude my own presentation And we will be. That's a little bit about what we've been doing in terms of accessibility. It's Fundación ONCE and I'd like to now present Andrés Villagrán who works with Wheel the World. It is an initiative that specializes in accessible tourism that carries out different daily excursions.
It has a customer service that is focused on accessible tourism. And so I think it's been a really important initiative. And I think not he has really it has his background. He is Chilean. He started with Wheel the World a couple of years ago and he's been working with as a consultant for several large companies in terms of accessible and then founded Wheel the World in order to improve the accessibility by his own initiative.
Good afternoon. Thank you Jesús for that introduction. I am Andrés Villagrán.
I am part of the marketing team of Wheel the World. Wheel The World is a company whose purpose is to make the world accessible. We want everybody to enjoy, to be empowered, to travel around the world limitless. Everything started with a group of friends, Alberto Ciel Barone one of the founders of Wheel the World, along with Camila Navarro, his friend. Since they were teenagers, they wanted to go to tourism final.
Alberto had an accident and since he was a when he was 18, he's quadriplegic. And for many years he's lived with this disability. In 2006 and in December of that year they said, let's go to Torres, Albania.
And everybody said, you guys are crazy. That's impossible. You're not going to be able to do that. That has never been done.
And they continued with their dream. They decided to do it. They joined a group of friends like our photographers, and they created this documentary and the story became viral. They bought this chair to be or to do this. You search in the towers or in the Torres Albania. And he is the first person who has ever done this secret in the world.
And from that moment we realized that the world is not accessible and that disability and accessibility, are not considered to be something as a priority in the tourism world. The accessibility information is not online. It's hard to find it, and the accessibility needs differ from person to person. Two people with the same disability may need something different, and there are no companies that are no solutions that guarantee this accessibility information. That's why we decided to create the best solution in the world.
So people with disabilities, elderly people, and any person who may need these accessibility, they can have access to wheeltheworld.com and they travel wherever they want to go. We offer reliable information, guaranteed information of accessibility. We give recommendations to the users according to their needs and the accessibility in the destinations.
And also we understand about accessibility, we understand about disabilities. And we have a personal service according to the needs of every person. How do we do this? We offer three types of products. We have the housing activities and tourist packages. We collect the accessibility information through our app that is called Accessibility Mapping System.
That along with mappers, people who are committed with accessibility all around the world, they travel everywhere. They go to different hotels, they have different experiences and they collect this information where we have more than 500 points of accessibility. The information that we collect goes from the height of the bed. What type of shower, if there is any kind of ramp at the entrance of the hotel and many other and even for much more information so people can see this platform and they are empowered and they see what they are going to face. Many people reach their destiny since they are choosing different platforms, the experiences that they want to have, the accessible experience that they want, and when they are in the place, they see that it is not accessible.
We want to make this information objective so every person is able to decide if that fits their needs or not. We also ask people to understand in a better way so they can build their own accessibility profile. We have more than 20 questions and that way we understand what the users need. We also have them.
We also see or match the accessibility of each destination and we recommend the places to the people. If you want to go to New York, you may choose these guided tours that has a 75% of compatibility with what you require. And also we have focused is in creating our community within that corporation is very important for making this world accessible.
That's well, that's why all the opinions of users of travelers are very important for us, because our purpose, as I said before, is to make the world accessible. We want to reach all the places in the world, and we know that when we hear, when we cooperate with people, when we listen to them, that's the way to reach this. We are 40 people. We are going to be more than 50 at the end of this month. People who are committed, who are passionate with accessibility, with lots of conviction, with lots of energy.
With the desire. To do the things in a different way. We believe and I believe that the world in different fields is moving towards a direction that I do like.
And I think we, all of us, not only will the world if we consider accessibility, as Jesús said from the beginning, as Jesús said from the beginning, we will make sure that we will enjoy this world just like the others. We are people who are even 13 countries. We speak more than five languages in our company and we are full of energy. We want to provide the best solution for people with disabilities. Our plan. Is to continue growing to is to continue growing in the next 18 months.
We want to position ourselves in the United States. We have more than 700 products in more than 66 destinations. We are we want to have more than 100 destinations. And by 2023, we want to cover the Americas. We want to cover Europe, Asia.
And reaching more than 150 destinations, offering multiple products in experiences in hotels or housings and in tourist packages. So I want to invite you all and I think this is that commitment from the society we need to be committed around accessibility. We have to put a little bit of our energy.
And among all of us, we can make the world more accessible for all the people in this planet. Thank you so much, Andrés. Thank you very much.
And congratulations on your initiative. It's really spectacular and I think it's such a necessary. And now we're going to hear from Glenda Durán, who is going to talk about the Hiking Without Limits program in Chile, which seeks to eliminate barriers for people with physically disabilities to enjoying the outdoors. Glenda is a professor of biology, and one of her passions is working on increases, and she has a master's in educational policies and she has been working on different initiatives in Latin America. She's found is is a member and founder of Fundación Eres and she has always sought to broaden the offers of accessible spaces. One of her initiatives.
Has won a prize for women leadership. And she has worked with another another a prize for women leaders by a paper here in Chile. She's going to be speaking about her initiative. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak about our initiative.
And thank you very much, Jesús and all of the panelists with us today. I'd like to talk a little bit. About. The work that we're doing as the foundation tourism provides incredible experiences for everyone, and it's also an opportunity to be able to implement best practices.
That can be. Culturally transformative and that can have a social impact. They bridge gaps and they can improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families. This perspective of tourism forces us to see that reality and identify all of barriers, no matter how subtle they are.
And so we seek to break down those barriers in order to transform society and space for all. That is our mission, and we would like to invite you to learn a bit about how we developed this process. Fundación Eres is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and their families. And we specifically think about social and cultural transformation so that we can open up and offer a more inclusive space for all. Hiking Without Limits is an accessible program that provides outdoor activities for all people, people with disabilities on an equal footing, as well as for people with reduced mobility and their families.
We're going to show you a little bit about what we do here. It is an experience, a tourism experience for where we use adapted unicycles that are low cost. The fact that they are low cost is fundamental because it makes the whole experience more accessible for all. We carry out these excursions in parks that have little or no offers for accessible options. However, it is a rapid solution and innovative that provides affordable outdoor accessibility options.
We use our hiking unicycles and train a team to be able to implement our program. We are also looking to train engineers or guides so they can replicate the experience in different areas. We provide all of these training opportunities so that people can become guides, and it also allows people with disabilities to use this as a way to integrate into work environments. Our hiking tours are operated by two or more people who are trained in that specific role, and it offers a very comfortable experience for people to contemplate and appreciate nature. It can be a group experience among people with reduced mobility, their families, and with a wonderful team of volunteers and workers hiking without limits includes several different elements, including the assessment, design and adaptation or improvement of different hiking trails in different localities.
We can identify the best trails for us to carry out that experiences. We also provide support materials that we have developed. So and we provide these materials that help us to highlight the different fauna and flora of different places that we visit and also the cultural, geographical and climate aspects of these trails. It is an activity where everyone is involved, not just people with disabilities, but everyone in their families as well, so that we can really appreciate these natural spaces and enjoy all of these experiences where we can enjoy the environments and carry out self-care activities in the forest and in nature, other aspects.
These programs includes different training opportunities that we've carried out with different organizations with along with different initiatives set aside to replicate our activities. We have been able to work with different tourism operations as well as park rangers, volunteers and young people with disabilities. And we can see in the images one of the students that we've worked with who works with the foundation concaro, is one of the hiking model sales states.
In our program, we have been able to carry out excursions in many regions of our country. We have been able to work with the National Forestry Administration and we have also carried that out in different parks throughout the country. And we've been able to train people to be able to replicate the experience and be able to provide this tourism experience to anyone who hasn't.
We have been able to make sure that different landscapes throughout our country have been accessible. We are committed to making sure that the smiles for people have become a real reflection of their experience. We have a fantastic, satisfactory rating from our users.
We have been able to develop and manufacture more than 45 hiking chairs for use in eight different regions throughout the country and we are increasing our numbers throughout the country. We've been able to partner with different organizations and different parks and as the day is coming, we're going to be able to donate another chair. And we've also been working with different stakeholders to be able to develop and replicate our initiative throughout other countries in the sense so that more people can have full access to nature. Every extension, every excursion is based on our understanding of life that really values inclusion based on exercise of good practices, our impact that we have on public policies and on cultural transformation. We seek to change our beliefs and expectations and bring a fairer experience of lives and equal opportunities to all we want to have a social, environmental and economic impacts so we can make sure not just that our program isn't just sustainable, but also work for the sustainability of our own planet and improve the quality of life and make sure that more and more people can enjoy this experience that we're showing you today. I'd like to leave you with our contact details.
We would love to reach more areas with our initiative and work with more and more organizations so that we can make full inclusion a reality. I'd like to leave you now with a video that is going to give you a brief view of what our work is like. Thank you very much. And I hope to continue working with all of you for the full inclusion and quality of life of everyone.
Thank you very much. Movie: "Tell me, how did you enjoy? It was fantastic. What was your favorite thing? Nature and such a fan of nature. And today I learned to fall in love with it even more. Just hiking without limits and contact with nature is essential for the quality of life of people.
But people with disabilities find themselves facing several barriers when they want to go out into nature. In order to solve this problem, we have designed hiking without limits, an inclusive experience that looks to connect people and improves their welfare. Hiking without Limits offers several accessibility solutions from a multi-dimensional perspective. It includes several inclusive excursions with our hiking chair and other inclusive activities.
It also includes several training services in nature excursions for work teams, volunteers and beneficiaries for programs. Hiking without limits works on creating alliances between different local community stakeholders. We believe that by working as a team is the only way that we will be able to create a more fair world that is more inclusive for everyone. Hiking without limits from Fundación Eres."
Thank you very much Glenda for your presentation. We're now going to move to another part of the world now. We are going to Kazakhstan. And we'll hear from Renat Anpilogov, who is going to share with us the work that he's carried out with Globe4all. He has been working for a world without barriers and he looks to adapt tourism for people with special needs. He is part of the globe4all association.
It's been functioning more than 15 years. So he has more than 15 years of experience. He was working prior to his initiative in music school teaching and he felt that he wanted everyone to have equal opportunities to tour. And so he began this website. It's an interactive platform that is developed for people with disabilities. But Renat you can tell us more about your initiative.
thank you Jesús. Dear colleagues it's a great pleasure for me to be here today. I do not have the logo. And for those who can see me, I'm a tall man.
The blond hair, blue eyes there and a blue hoody. Now I'm in Almaty. And greetings from Kazakhstan. I'm a co-founder of Globe4all and I'm glad to present you that project dedicated to accessibility tourism and first of all, made one of our travelers, this fantastic young lady in a wheelchair is Natasha, who dreams of adventures. But after injury, she became a Russian user and she thought it's impossible last summer she book a tour to come to a forest peninsula, which got mountains, volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean.
She was happy and she says that Globe4alll is telling happiness. This is what we do. Globe4all makes travel simple for people with disabilities. Globe4all is an online booking platform connecting travelers with disabilities and trusted service providers.
One part of the platform is accessibility news and travel stories, where parks and interviews to inform and inspire. So the traveler is going to find out where to go and what to do. Then book accessible tours, hotels and adventures adapted for their needs.
They can go on vacation and think not about accessibility, but about new experience. Our partners help to make it possible. Our partners are transport companies, hotels, museums, volunteers and city guides. We inspire them to open unique markets in accessible tourism, create new products, increase sales and make social impact. Impact through accessible services. Globe4all is a community based on nothing for us without us.
So part of our guides, our people are disabilities, all their family members and NGOs of disabled people. One of our guides, you see him in the center of the photo. His name is Eugene, and he drives a wheelchair in the kitchen. Before the injury, he was a snowboarder and a lifeguard.
But even now, he loves mountain snow adventures, skiing and snowboarding, and he is happy to share his passion and knowledge with common guests. Our goal is to provide a person, not just them, adapted travel products, but the freedom of choice based on the dreams and interests. So Globe4all. So I will everyone could find a variety of accessible adventures from Atlantic to Pacific Ocean.
We believe that disability shouldn't limit the possibilities. So we invite people with disabilities to become guides if necessary, undergo training and walk the dogs on the development of accessible tourism. For this, the second product was launched an online educational platform. This is a place that in disabilities, travel professionals can find training courses, master classes and best practices in the field of accessible tourism.
They can learn and get new skills and experiences. Those people with disabilities discover new style and areas of professional development, and employment in tourism and travel professionals learn how to make tourism accessible for guests with special needs, you know, last year was hard for tourism. Even in 2020, we find new partners, have hundreds of tourists, new roads and got international awards. We have about 25,000 subscribers, more than 120 partners from different countries in the world.
But the most important, we give 24000 hours of happiness to our travelers. They believe that by 2025, more than 10,000 people with disabilities will travel with Globe4all and more than 1000 of them will become guides. This is our vision with Globe4all in COVID times.
Now we want to open new regions for accessible tourism while looking for new partnerships and new products and of course, a companion tourist for new destinations. Just a few words about our team, why it's so important for us. Globe4all is an inclusive international team of like minded people.
Half of our team members have disabilities and they work as a journal, as developers, product managers and accessibility experts. I'm Renat Anpilogov. With over ten years of experience. But my first job was a college for blind musician.
I was a teacher there. So I know how important inclusion and accessibility are. They believe that tourism is a force for good.
We strongly believe in tourism and travel interactions between people and countries as a force of goodness and freedom. No one is immune from loss of mobility and independence. Join us in creating the world accessible for all. Thank you for the opportunity, Renat. Thank you so much.
It's so interesting the project that you've got going and now we're going to go to Ecuador to hear from Bastienne Paliz Who is from LatinAmerica for All who is going to tell us a bit about her project and to experience managing this project, LatinAmerica for All, whereas they began with trips through Equador and then through other countries in Latin America for people who use wheelchairs. She Has worked with the Technical University of Munich and she's also worked on different value chains, working to provide different accessible options. Bastienne is also an entrepreneur. This who is the founder of the Amazon lunch, a fully accessible lunch in the Amazon. She also managed LatinAmerica for All.
Bastienne go ahead with your presentation if you are ready. Thank you very much Jesús for the introduction. It's a pleasure to be here today with all of you to be able to tell you a little bit about our own experience as a tourism operator and accessible tourism operators, principally in Ecuador, but also since 2009, we've been operating in other countries throughout the region. We were recognized by Zero Project in 2018. And we're thrilled to be here today once again, sharing your experience and extending to other organizations throughout the region. In Latin America.
Latin America for All is an tourism operator that looks to focus on accessible tourism, and it focuses also sustainable tours that consider accessibility to be a cross pillar of our mission. We work in Ecuador, Peru and Argentina through our strategic partners. We've been functioning since 2009, and we focus on small groups and we want to have a really in-depth knowledge of the destination and the requirements of each client so that we can provide really memorable experiences. And so that we can make sure that they really become pleasurable tours for all that are adapted, the specific needs. And we put a really strong emphasis on the personalized experience.
As Jesús said at the beginning of the session, having an accessible hotel room isn't enough. We need to make sure that all of the experiences and excursions are also accessible. So we have a really cross-cutting focus throughout all of the tours. In terms of sustainability. That is another founding pillar of LatinAmerica for All we look to provide short, medium and long term accessible solutions. When we began in 2009, Ecuador wasn't an accessible destination.
What we sought to do was to see how could we adapt each of those destinations to make them more accessible for people using wheelchairs, for example, so they could have a really quality experience. And that's where we sought to make our innovations and we an event in terms of even the wheelchairs that we provide. As you can see in the image here.
We have through these wheelchairs, been able to make much more of the country accessible to our tourists. Our guides are also key to the success. It's not just about their knowledge. It's about going beyond what they can adapt to, issues that might come up along the way.
Someone might say, they have to improvise that. It's not just that. It's the willingness of our guides to be able to go beyond. To make every destination as accessible as possible so that our guests can have the best possible experience.
But it's important to be able to share a success stories that we can show these tourist providers who have been able to identify accessible solutions and the impacts that they can have on their own businesses. A really good example that we've had is our work with Wasilla Amazon launch. I'm a co-founder of this launch. Where we have had that good fortune.
I've been able to build an accessible tourism destination from our very beginnings, and we've worked with people with and without disabilities to be able to have a really quality experience for all. And so using this type of wheelchair that you can see in the image we have able to take our guests, even as far as waterfalls and destinations that they perhaps never dreamed of being able to reach in life. So we invite you to visit the Web page, of course, Wascila Amazon Launch to see more of the possibilities there.
But as soon as the keys of our operation. Well, one of our philosophies is to do whatever is possible. We've seen just from the beginning of making reservation, there's perhaps a lot of information available, but it perhaps doesn't provide that information that you need.
It isn't quite what you expects. In terms of that accessibility information, perhaps there isn't as much communicated to on what you need. So we always say we need to do everything possible. That's why the role of the guide is so important, so that they can be flexible and work towards the situation.
For example, we also think of safety in Galapagos when we have done kayak tours for people with limited mobility. Well, if we've seen that it hasn't worked their needs, then we will cancel that and readapt the tour so that we can make sure that that guests can have a full experience of the destination. So we always have to keep in mind that this is a holiday event.
And so we want to make sure that we go beyond and allow the person that is visiting the destination can have as much enjoyment of it as possible. So we really respect. That our guides are able to work with our clients in order to provide as much accessibility as possible. And another key to the operation is to provide continuous training for our personnel, for our guides. For example, after COVID, we've seen that it's been a bit more difficult too, because we didn't have constant flow and exchanges. But this is key and we need to be able to provide support or to receive support to be able to continue to provide this continuous training to hoteliers service personnel guides so that they can continue to work and understand how to work with guests in wheelchairs, for example, and how they can be prepared and think about how they can receive this.
Guests and the destination in Latin America, because as we know, they're not yet completely prepared or trained to be able to provide the high level of accessibility that we need so that these guests can move as freely as they would like. So we also want to work on awareness and sensitivity before the guests arrive at the destinations so that we can make sure that a quality service is provided. We want to have that mindset of we learn something new every day, that every client has different needs, whether their however are with or without a disability.
They always have different needs and so we always need to leverage those outside resources as well. Because talking about a business that has an incredible of detail. And so we need to make sure that we can leverage resources so that we can make sure that this is an end to end solution. And so that's the lessons that we've learned along the way, include the fact that sustainability Always needs to be one of the most important things that is kept in mind in order to provide excellent services, we need to generate networks and contacts and keep in touch with people who have already undertaken the excursions so that we have all that information and that we need. For example, we've done a general levels of promotions, but we've seen that that information for people with disabilities, it needs to be more in-depth.
So we need to be able to have the full information for people with disabilities so that they can arrive at these destinations that are perhaps not as well known. And make sure that the services are indeed adapted to their needs. We've also seen that tourism for people with physical disabilities is a very niche business and for it to be sustainable for a tourism operator, it can be quite complex. So we want to continue to expand our market to be able to offer other types of tours. For example, yoga tours or tours for people who are blind or with visual impairments.
And then before the pandemic began, we had carried out some excursions with different types of groups that would have broadened that market offering, and it allowed us to expand our offerings. But then with the pandemic, we need to go back and readdress that situation. As we've heard from my colleagues today, we've also said it's really important to make sure that you carried out an in-depth analysis of the destinations because problems can always arise. And the important thing is how do you reach them? How do you solve them? So the guide needs to think beyond what's is just at hand. And so that's why we work on in of our training as well. In that sense, we always think about going that extra mile.
It sets us apart. It's real differentiate and it's important that we train not just our own guides, but also the suppliers of services in our excursions. Bastienne,, thank you very much. It is so interesting to hear about your project. Thank you and congratulations.
I want to thank all the speakers for the great projects that you have presented, projects that are going to improve the quality of life and the experience of people with disability in tourism, especially this outdoors tourism. This has been very interesting and as I am a user of a wheelchair. I will be very interested in enjoy in these projects that you have presented. Now we are going to start with a Q&A session. We're going to start with Andrés.
Andrés, do you think the Latin American countries and the Caribbean countries are ready to offer this entertainment a space based on accessible tourism or considering all the needs? If not, how can we deep dove in these development? Thanks very much, Jesús for the question. It's a very good question. In fact, I think there's a bit of an issue in the words the fact is the world isn't accessible at all.
I mean that it's not accessible in terms of infrastructure and in terms of needing that cultural shift. Well, are more developed countries that have infrastructure available that's more developed, that's more accessible for people? For example, if you think of the United states or England when for the Paralympic Games, they had an accessible venue. . They're still facing many issues in terms of accessibility. So when we take it to Latin America, we're a little bit behind. And so I think, well, we're able to offer tourism that is accessible. We need to do a lot of work. I think what we're missing is a lot of that willingness to really include accessibility in our in our projects at Wheel the World.
What we're trying to do is to raise awareness and accessibility and the importance of it and then also to generate infrastructure. For example, last year we donated several different devices to help people access the beach using different ramps and walkways. So I think it's a responsibility for all of us, for the governments, private companies, organizations, all of us to facilitate access so that people with disabilities who want to access these experiences have that opportunity. And I think there are barriers that need to be taken down still we need to think about in terms of lodging, transport, excursions, activities, there are still lots of barriers that need to be overcome. But I think if we have that willingness to make a world that's more accessible, we can do it. And we certainly are trying to do so in more than 30 different destinations.
Thank you so much, Andrés. Now we are going to ask Glenda, how do you describe your work with public and private institution? Another foundation's looking for a more inclusive tourism. Thank you, Jesús.
That's a great question. We describe this work as something that nurtures us, that provides improvement possibilities for the different initiatives that we are implementing. For us, inclusion has a very important pillar in the association with others, and that is to offer for the good, for the benefit of all the different skills, abilities that we have in order to cope, build the reality that we dream of. Also, it has allowed us to have an effect on public policies.
This has also reduce the gaps and also it has to strengthen their equality. Also, this experience in the different associations between private and public and institutions and foundations. This has allowed us to develop ourselves. We have grown together and that's why we have the different experiences with certitude. With the national forest corporation with different entities from the area, from the area.
And also I can mention there is quite a specialist, Roger Lari from Marina park. So in general terms we can say that this possibility of co building through these associations is good for the organizations and for the society. Today we want to highlight the signing of a new covenant with this astronomy institution because we can organize night shifts and night visits. And to learn more of this, no doubt there are a lot of things to do, but are sure that we can do it in an easier way. Thank you, Jesús.
Thank you, Glenda, for your answer. Now we are going to start working with Renat I would like to ask you if there are any plans of expansion of Globe4all in other regions such as Latin America. Maybe you can do it in an autonomous way or you can create this associations with other institutions. Thank you for the question.
you know, when I was a child, I remember the time I was looking at the Globe and maps and dreaming about travel and nothing could stop me. And I really believe that nothing should stop. People could dream of new adventures and interesting places, especially as disability and unaccessible environment. As I said earlier, our goal is to provide a freedom of choice for our tourists with disabilities so everyone could travel anywhere and of course, we plan to open of course we plan to open many in as many new countries as we can. And of course, the plan to go to Latin America and our tourists have experience in this region. For example, they visited Mexico, Brazil, Dominican Republic.
And we are looking for new partners in this region because there are marketplace. And our one power social impact is make more visible this project for thinking about accessible tourism and accessible adventures for all people. We're now on some great initiatives and we're no more interested in and great initiative after this wonderful event. And we hope to find new partners and open for our tourists, Latin America.
THank you for the question and for the opportunity. Renat, thank you. Thank you very much.
Now. We are going to ask Bastienne about this very interesting project, Latin America for all I want to ask you, because this project is based or focused in accessibility for people with disability. Have you ever thought about expanding your project to people with visual disability, with cognitive disability, and do something more like a universal project? Yes. Jesús. So as you saw in the presentation, one of the learned lessons is that working with only with people with physical disabilities is a very small niche. So and it's been difficult to understand the financial sustainability, especially in this pandemic year. It has hit us very strongly as it hit all the tourist area.
And in this new mission, in this new strategy that we have consider we want to consider all other types of disabilities we have already had and beginning or this process where maybe then this ad, which is people who are blind and this was at the beginning of 2020 and we had a tour of three weeks long in Ecuador and it was a very successful tour. We had very good reviews and we want to continue with this type of tours and also include the other disabilities that you mentioned. Thank you so much, Bastienne, for this.
I'm very happy that you are extending this project to other types of disabilities. As I mentioned before. Congratulations to all of us. To all of you, thank you for this. We've seen great project space in Latin America. Will the world.
It's a global project. Globe4all. It's also a very, very it's a global project. And we will continue with this projects with our social impact, solving real problems and problems that have not been solved through the initiatives of people with or without disabilities in order to have a better world and enjoy the outdoors and enjoy tourism in a very in an accessible way with the same conditions and circumstances for their citizens.
I started working with the accessibility for natural environments in the 1990s. We started working with this in Spain in the 1990s, and my PHD thesis was a methodological proposal to analyze the accessibility of protected natural areas. And these is I'm so proud of that. We are going to finish here. Our panel, we want to thank all of those who participated in these sessions, in this great panel. And we want to thank all the speakers because you shared your experiences with all of us and thank you Zero Project for organizing this session.
Thank you so much.