Access to leisure travel and holidays is a right for all human beings and social tourism should be encouraged and facilitated

The project was born starting from the winning 3 years’ experience in Italy with people affected by autism “Autismo Friendly Beach – Take a trip to the sea”.

Started in 2013, the italian project, promoted by the partner Rimini Autismo Onlus, now involves a network of local tourism operators (beaches, hotels, amusement parks, sports and shopping centres, tourist offices and public transport) able to offer families of autistic persons a peaceful and accessible holiday in the Rimini Riviera.

The national project is based on the fact that autism is a non‐visible disability (unlike other forms of disability) and families with autistic persons have difficulty to face new situations and get out of the routine. For this reason, they decide not to travel, not to go on vacation.

Starting from this 3 years’ experience in Italy, the COSME FRIENDLY BEACH Project intends to codify and assess a methodology and a model to be extended and implemented firstly around the selected Mediterranean Countries (Italy, Croatia and Spain) and later in other  EU Countries with similar morphology, facilities and services.

PROJECT AIMS

Create an innovative, codified model for Transnational tourism accessibility, with a focus on mild mental disorder (not limited to autism).

If in terms of physical disability or sensory impairment European touristic system offers numerous experiences/projects/policies related to the development of adequate services, concerning mental disability the situation is more complex and compelling: mental disability involves not only and not so much physical aspects or logistics, but mainly relational, social, educational and civil aspects. If the touristic offer is still restrictive for people with disabilities, it is even more restrictive for people with mental disabilities.

PROJECT PHASES (Work Packages)

PHASE 1 (WP2) Analysis of the model and Methodology

The aim of this first phase is to analyze and systematize the FRIENDLY BEACH model and methodology through transnational sectoral workshops and European comparative analysis, starting from the Rimini experience and considering the potential adaptability in other European countries such as Spain, Croatia and UK. The final objective is to create an European Methodology, a thematic guide with transferable manuals replicable in other Mediterranean cities through training activities (in WP4) and after the completion of the project to other operators of the tourist chain.

PHASE 2 (WP3) Implementation and validation of the methodology

In this phase the methodology analysed and developed in the first phase will be tested in the tourism supply chain activities in Cartagena (Murcia Region, Spain).
The objective is the validation, the replication and the adaptability of FRIENDLY BEACH Social Tourism model and methodology along the coast. The local partners (APICES and ADLE) will implement and validate the output and guide created in the first phase detecting room for improvement and transferring the most important features of the methodology through special testing training sessions  to be fully developed and spread to all EU partners in the last phase.

Testing Training courses
This is the main activity of this phase. The project will create training courses for local tourist operators identified in the first phase as key stakeholders in the tourism chain, enabling them to learn how to welcome people affected by mild mental disorders in a professional and competent way.

PHASE 3 (WP4) Training and transfer of the model

This is the core phase, it  is dedicated to the transfer of the codified (phase 1), implemented and verified (phase 2) FRIENDLY BEACH model to Consortium operators and relevant local stakeholders in the public-private tourism chain through a training activity addressed to operators of the tourism industry and final users.

The objective underpinning this WP is a clear comprehension and transfer of tools, knowledge and specific competences connected to the welcoming of disabled tourists with the codified FRIENDLY BEACH approach. The approach is the result of the implementation period and thus considered as the best upgrade so far starting from RIMINI model and practice.

Training tools and methodology of training will be prepared by the Scientific Partner DONCAL during WP3 implementation phase in Spain, with a strict collaboration with ADLE which will register weaknesses and strengths of the model elaborated in WP2. The pilot trainings in WP3 will be useful and preparatory for final WP4 training phase.

General project Communication (WP5), Management and Monitoring (WP1)

These are cross-cutting activities needed to ensure the correct management and monitoring of the whole project. These activities are important to take appropriate measures or adapt the project implementation in case of critical risks, to raise awareness about the outcomes of the project, to involve all key stakeholders of the European Touristic Industry and to ensure that the project objectives, activities and methodologies are widely promoted to the target groups.