Within its successful activity in the field of EU project management, the CEI Executive Secretariat (CEI-ES) has launched a new initiative in support of accessible tourism, which represents a relevant opportunity for CEI Member States.

Accessible tourism is a complex concept encompassing both a social and an economic component. “Tourism for All” promotes inclusiveness by allowing people with disabilities to enjoy cultural heritage. At the same time, cultural operators will benefit from increased accessibility standards: this will help attract new flows of visitors and users, with positive consequences in terms of economic development.

These are challenges on top of the agenda at both international and EU level (UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and EU Disability Strategy). Therefore, a CEI action is needed in order to spread these principles and practices, with the ultimate goal to encourage the establishment of common guidelines, while supporting the valorisation of the CEI cultural heritage.

As a first step in this direction, the COME-IN! project (Cooperating for Open access to Museums – towards a widEr Inclusion ), co-financed by the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme, has started its operations with a Kick Off meeting in Trieste on 5-6 July. In its capacity of Lead Partner, the CEI-ES will coordinate the efforts of a consortium composed of museums, training institutions, disability associations and NGOs dealing with tourism.

14 partners will cooperate towards the definition of accessibility standards and related guidelines, as well as towards the elaboration of a Training handbook for museum operators. COME-IN! activities will be implemented in a broad area covering Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. The CEI-ES will make sure that COME-IN! results and outcomes are duly transferred to the whole CEI region, so that CEI Member States will be able to embrace the lessons learned and enhance their accessible tourism standards.