Embratur, the Brazilian Tourist Board, last night organised a panel of officials to discuss accessible travel in Brazil and the Paralympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The meeting was preceded by a workshop geared to the travel trade, showcasing various destinations in Brazil.
The seminars “Discover Brazil” and “Tourism & Accessibility in Brazil” took place at Casa Brasil (Somerset House), which continues to promote Brazilian destinations and culture for visitors throughout the Paralympic Games in London.
As well as Embratur, the group consisted of the vice president of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, Luiz Cláudio Pereira; president of the NGO “Special Adventure,” Moreira Dada; and superintendent of the department of planning Cabo Frio.
The group discussed strategies to make cities of Brazil accessible to all visitors including those who have a disability, addressing key topics such as the Paralympic route for 2016.
“As the next Olympic host in 2016, this summer’s Olympics and Paralympics in London have created a platform to showcase our unique and diverse country.
“It has also enabled us to actively address the issue of accessible tourism, which is an increasing priority for Brazil and the rest of the world,” said the president of Embratur, Flavio Dino.
Recent developments in accessible tourism around Brazil include the ‘New Directions’ project, pioneered by the ministry of tourism and Brazilian not-for-profit organisation The Very Special Institute.
In 2010 a team of four people with varying disabilities travelled around Brazil to test the accessibility of the infrastructure, focusing on the 12 host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the city of Socorro in São Paulo, considered by the Brazilian ministry of tourism a national example in accessible tourism.
Following the expedition which took two months, the team helped to produce a tourist guide book and website on accessible travel around Brazil.
Their findings from the trip are also contributing to plans for adapting infrastructure and tourist products, including accommodation, restaurants and museums, to help Brazil to gear up to cater for disabled or less-able visitors.