Co-Founder/CEO, Purple Goat Agency & Disability Horizons, World Changing Influencer
Zoritsa Urosevic is the Executive Director of UNWTO since October 2021. She joined UNWTO in 2006 as Executive Secretary of the Business Council. Since 2010, she has led work on positioning tourism in the development cooperation and trade agendas, while strengthening UNWTO’s institutional framework, leading the inclusion of UNWTO in the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list, as recipient organization for Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 2015, Zoritsa Urosevic was the UNWTO Special Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and Director of the Institutional Relations and Partnerships Department – providing policy advice for external relations, strategic partnerships and innovative financing to the Secretariat, including integration of the 2030 Agenda and the UN Reform in UNWTO’s strategic work and delivery.
Jesús has more than 30 years working in innovation and accessibility as a prominent figure in these spheres in Spain and across all Europe. From 2000 to 2003, Jesus served as General Director and CEO of the Vía Libre consultancy. In 2022, he was appointed Director of the European Accessibility Center, an activity that he combines with his current job as Director of Accessibility and Innovation of the ONCE Foundation, a position he has held since 2003. Jesús is an expert in business management and innovation, professional coach, university professor and speaker. He is also the Vice-President of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), President of the Technical Committee for Standardization 170 Universal Accessibility and Design for All, patron of several foundations, member of the Board of Directors of Ilunion Hotels and of the Advisory Board of the Start Up Marsi Bionics. Jesus has lectured in more than 30 countries and participated in more than 80 publications and articles.
AccessibleEU is one of the flagship initiatives proposed in the European Commission’s Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030. AccessibleEU will increase the coherence of accessibility policies and facilitate access to relevant knowledge. AccessibleEU will bring together all national authorities responsible for implementing and enforcing accessibility rules with experts and professionals from all areas of accessibility, to share best practices across sectors, to inspire policy development at national and EU level, as well as to develop tools and standards aiming to facilitate the implementation of EU law. The main goal of AccessibleEU is to facilitate the practical application of EU legislation on accessibility to improve the availability of more accessible products, services and infrastructures across the EU. In this regard, the centre offers an online library specialised in accessibility, including direct links to the most important databases on legislation, standards, documentation on accessibility, assistive technologies and products, among others. Additionally, the centre has created a network of national experts to facilitate stakeholder engagement, provide comprehensive accessibility information, offer professional training programs, promote standardization, and ensure the active participation of individuals with disabilities.
Technical Coordinator of the UNWTO Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility Department / UNWTO Specialist in Accessible Tourism
Assistant Director, External Affairs/ Global Accessibility & Tourism, International Air Transport Association (IATA)
As a dedicated member of the Customer Experience team, Hilal Kahraman’s mission is to enhance the airport experience, making it smoother, accessible and more enjoyable for all, including passengers, employees, and stakeholders, infused with the warmth of Turkish hospitality culture. For the past five years, Hilal has been passionately working towards enabling accessible and independent travel at the airport. Through her impactful contributions at Istanbul Airport, Hilal was honored with the 2021 CXPA Impact Awards in the “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Outcomes Related to CX” category, showcasing her commitment to fostering an inclusive and exceptional customer experience.
At Istanbul Airport, a strong commitment to enhancing accessibility and elevating the overall guest experience has driven the development of the iGA Cares program. This program serves as a powerful tool to champion accessibility initiatives and foster inclusive solutions catering to individuals with varying disabilities. Hilal Kahraman’s presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of Istanbul Airport’s approach to accessibility. It will focus on the efforts undertaken to enhance significant activities within the airport, illustrating the collaborative endeavours with diverse stakeholders, and highlighting the efforts aimed at raising public awareness regarding accessibility issues. By sharing experiences and valuable insights, her presentation seeks to emphasize the significance of inclusive design within the aviation sector and initiate a broader conversation about the promotion of accessible and inviting travel experiences for all.
Senior Legal Adviser/Privacy Officer, Ruter As-Public Administrator of Municipaal Transport in Oslo, Norway
Svend Wandaas holds a Master’s Degree in Law, with a specialization in privacy, and has pursued additional education in risk assessment. Throughout his career, Svend has been involved in privacy regulations, serving as a Data Protection Officer (DPO) from 2006 to 2022. Svend has played a pivotal role in advocating for and shaping legislation related to passenger rights and equal treatment. His contributions extend to legal services in the transport sector, particularly within Ruter. In addition, Svend took on the role of Committee Leader at Standard Norge from 2015 to 2017, where he led the development of three standards on Universal Design in Public Transport, including the notable NS 11031 for buses. Svend has shared his expertise through lectures on privacy, passenger rights, equal treatment, and universal design, both nationally and internationally.
In accordance with CRPD art 9, securing public transport for local community and tourists alike in the Oslo region is vital. Ruter, in collaboration with The Norwegian Association of Persons with Disability (NHF), has introduced the awareness-raising programme ‘Mind the Gap.’ The latter targets various stakeholders, including Ruter’s Board, managers, employees, operators, and other partners. This presentation will focus on the ‘Mind the Gap’ concept and the extensive efforts to actively engage both customers with disabilities and their representative organizations, such as NHF. The presentation will make a reference to Ruter’s program for equal treatment in public transport, its focus on the entire travel chain and the efforts to implement the Universal Design in all their vehicles, boats- and piers. The intervention will showcase some noteworthy Ruter’s accessibility improvements of older metro stations, the introduction of universally designed trams, the implementation of automated ramps on buses, and the integration of Universal Design features on electrical ferries. The organization’s efforts to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements will be also discussed.
Luca Briziarelli, a journalist and entrepreneur, has held various institutional positions from 2003 to 2022. He served as District Councillor in Perugia, Municipal Councillor, Councilor, and Deputy Mayor in Passignano sul Trasimeno. He was also Vice President and a member of the Presidency Office of Anci Umbria. Elected as a Senator in 2018, during his tenure, he was involved in the approval of significant measures concerning the environment, territorial protection, social issues, healthcare, tourism, craftsmanship, trade, and administrative simplification. In 2023, upon concluding his institutional and political commitment at the national level, he established Bil Benefit Srl, a benefit company working towards achieving the 17 challenging goals of the 2030 Agenda.
It is not enough that the rights of people with disabilities are formally recognized, it is essential that they are considered an integral part of the common heritage of our society and that everyone feels called to give them concrete implementation. This is the spirit underlying the project “La vita indipendente non va in vacanza” (Independent Life Doesn’t Go on Vacation) which involves the activation, in ten Italian airports, of a service for renting cars equipped for driving by individuals with disabilities. The project aims to be a model based on three fundamental pillars: Expanding the boundaries of what should be considered essential for a satisfactory independent life; Proposing an effective and replicable solution without limiting itself to identifying a specific need; Directly involving third-sector entities (AISM), benefit societies (Bil Benefit Srl SB), profit-making companies (Sicily By Car Spa) by actively engaging with the Institutions.
Architect, Accessibility Expert, Board of Directors, European Network for AccessibilityTourism (ENAT), Greece
Katerina Papamichail is a Greek architect, currently working as consultant and trainer on Universal Design and Accessible Tourism, while serving as a Greek national expert at AccessibleEU Resource Centre. As a founding member and Board Member of ENAT, the European Network for Accessible Tourism, Katerina has been at the forefront of advancing accessibility in the tourism industry. In 1998, Katerina co-authored the Greek Accessibility Guidelines, and she also served as chief architect at the Greek Social Housing Organization (OEK) and Section Manager for the Olympic and Paralympic Villages, Athens 2004. Katerina is also member of the expert team for the development of European Standard EN 17210, “Accessibility and Usability of the Built environment”, as well as of the working group for ENAT in the development of the ISO Standard 21902 on “Accessible Tourism for All”. She is also representing ENAT in the ongoing work for the ISO standard for the “Accessibility of Immovable Heritage”.
The 7 Universal Design principles serve as valuable guidelines for ensuring accessibility in a wide range of environments, products, and services. These principles are instrumental in making cultural heritage and nature sites more inclusive, encompassing various aspects such as buildings, monuments, outdoor spaces, exhibits, information, and all associated services. In essence, they address the entire ‘chain of accessibility’ required to facilitate reaching, visiting, and fully experiencing such sites. Katerina will illustrate the significance of these Universal Design principles within the context of accessible tourism. This discussion will delve into some of the primary challenges and considerations that arise when striving to preserve heritage values while meeting accessibility requirements. Additionally, the presentation will explore potential solutions for scenarios where physical access proves to be unattainable, such as the creation of full-scale replicas, models, and digital exhibits, all of which aim to provide an inclusive experience to a broader audience. Examples of successful implementations of Universal Design and accessible design will be showcased, such as improving accessibility at archaeological sites in Athens and ensuring access to the Acropolis. Furthermore, the discussion will touch on topics like tourist guiding and the development of Access Guides, shedding light on the best ways to enhance accessibility and enrich the tourist experience.
Executive Secretary, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes, Council of Europe (EPA) / Director, European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR)
Head of Department for Policies in favor of Persons with Disabilities, Advisor to the Minister for Disabilities, Italy
President of ITRIA – Intercultural and Accessible Religious Tourist Itineraries
Dino Angelaccio is an expert in universal accessibility, inclusive and multisensory design. He is President of ITRIA (Intercultural and accessible tourist-religious itineraries), as well as professor and speaker on universal accessibility, design for all, multisensory design, participatory and conscious design, accessible and sustainable tourism, marketing and communication for all, and enhancement of cultural heritage through inclusive design. Dino Angelaccio additionally serves as a consultant for many national and international projects on universal accessibility, and obtained many recognitions and awards for his works. He is a member of numerous national and international scientific committees and research groups on universal accessibility, design for all and disability.
The Intercultural and accessible tourist-religious itineraries (ITRIA) Committee is engaged in multiple projects financed by national and international institutions, operating in various regions such as Calabria, Molise, Matera, and Puglia, as well as in several European countries. Their work encompasses the implementation of accessible initiatives, inclusive signage and cultural preservation efforts at cultural sites, including the Sant’Anna dei Lombardi monumental complex and the Pilgrim Museum in Naples, the Diocesan and Codex Museum of Rossano and the five UNESCO sites of Mosaics of Ravenna. The Committee was also engaged in the creation of accessible and multisensory community maps of Procida, Italian Capital of Culture 2022, the “Tulipano Art Friendly” social inclusion projects in the Pompeii archaeological park, and an international exhibition promoting diversity and peace through the works of artists with and without disabilities. The Committee’s projects extend to the creation of plans for the elimination of architectural barriers (PEBA) and the development of tactile and speaking reproductions promoted by cultural institutions, worldwide.
Sonia Garcìa Fraille
Technician of Accessibility and Innovation Directorate, ONCE Foundation, Spain
Sonia has been working at Fundación ONCE Accessibility and Innovation Directorate since 2007, in the Culture and Leisure Department and the Built Environment Accessibility Department. She holds a Degree in Economics from Universidad Carlos III and has also completed a postgraduate course in Universal Accessibility and Design for All. Her current responsibilities include development and execution of different projects in accessible tourism, accessible leisure activities and culture, Design for All, education and specific awareness-raising activities. Since 2017, Sonia participates as an expert in UNE (Spanish Association for Standardization) and international ISO working groups developing standards related to accessibility, such as the UNE-ISO Accessible Tourism Standard.
Making the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) more accessible is a project aimed at enabling people with disabilities to undertake the Camino as independently as possible. Initiated in 2018, the project’s primary objective to improve accessibility in public spaces, buildings and virtual spaces, making the Camino de Santiago accessible. This transformation is making it a more inclusive, interactive, and enjoyable experience for all, while also promoting Accessible Tourism. Guiding Apps are the ones to alert users about existing obstacles, allowing, for example, individuals with visual impairments to take necessary precautions. The intervention will focus on the social and cultural value of making the experience accessible for everyone, without a damaging impact on the environment, while generating business and entrepreneurship opportunities. The strength of the project lies in its ease of replication in similar contexts outside of Spain, thanks to its international dimension and the intrinsic innovation it incorporates. Nature, cultural heritage, innovation, and accessibility all play pivotal roles in facilitating the inclusion of people with disabilities in leisure activities.
Director of Parc naturel du Pays des Collines, Wallonia’s Nature Parks Federation, Belgium
Baptiste Hottekiet is an agronomist, passionate about geology and soil biology, and has been a key actor in the implementation of the Natur’Accessible project, an initiative that aims to introduce a Natura 2000 sites in Wallonia to people with disabilities. Baptiste started working in the tree nursery sector and since 2008 he is part of the Pays des Collines Natural Park, where he works on an Interregional project focused on raising awareness of the preservation and sustainable management of soil. In 2011, Baptiste took over management of the Pays des Collines Natural Park, divided into four areas: nature, economic and rural development, regional and landscape planning and education.
The intervention will provide a comprehensive overview of the Natur’Accessible project, offering insights into its core objectives and intended audiences. The audience will gain a first-hand look at various adaptations introduced across multiple Walloon natural parks to cater to all audiences. The presentation will explore the practical aspects of implementing the Natur’Accessible project, encompassing the challenges encountered along the way and the strategies to overcome them. A particular focus will be placed on concrete developments executed within the constraints of modest budgets. These examples will cover the seven recognized types of disability, underscoring the unique challenges associated with implementing such changes within the natural beauty of Natura sites. The is to serve as an inspiring good practice, encouraging the replication of this successful approach in other European countries. By sharing the experiences and lessons learned from the Natur’Accessible project, it is hoped that more natural parks and heritage sites across Europe can become more accessible and inclusive for all.
Director, Observatory on Sustainable and Accessible Tourism, Paris Je t’iame-Paris Tourism Office, France
Thomas Deschamps is a Parisian who obtained a Bachelors Degree in Economic from La Sorbonne, and has later specialized in economy of tourism and culture. He fell into the cauldron of statistics when he began to work in Luxembourg, for Eurostat, helping to compile the European Balance of Payments. There he learnt the values of Culture and Universality and became passionate about building a EU where tourism strengthens the bonds between people.Thomas decided to analyze the tourism sector of France and ultimately of Paris for Paris je t’aime – Tourism Office since 2008. As an avid cyclist and by extension of his knowledge of Paris as a destination, he has been entrusted with developing more sustainable, inclusive and accessible tourism, particularly with the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon.
The Olympics and Paralympics are a unique opportunity for a tourism destination such as Paris, to accelerate awareness among its stakeholders and find solutions of the problems that could be highlighted by such an event. For Paris je t’aime – Tourism Office, it is a one in a lifetime chance to showcase the image of a city that embraces contemporary stakes and all kinds of people. Paris has changed regarding sustainability but is still legging behind accessibility. However, if there is a legacy of which the city will be proud of, is the progress of acquiring awareness of the access requirments of persons with disabilities. Paris je t’aime started from an assessment that people with disabilities were not visible enough in its communication and were lacking information to organize a safe stay in the destination. That is why Paris je t’aime built a tool to collect a very detailed and verified information. By disseminating in open data the material collected on a large scale, Paris je t’aime hopes to help the travelers to start planning, while helping the accommodation establishments to take into account the specific needs of the public to attend the Olympics and Paralympics games.
Helena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Master’s Degree in Tourism Business Management. She currently works in the Tourism Supply and Resources Dynamization Department in Turismo de Portugal, National Tourism Organization. Between 2013 and 2016 she has been working as Project Manager for “Making Portugal an accessible tourist destination for everyone”. Since 2016, she is also project manager of the ALL FOR ALL – Portuguese Tourism Program, covering training, information, financing and mobilization of tourism key stakeholders. Additionally, Helena is Coordinator of Subcommittee 8 – Accessible Tourism, of the Portuguese Technical Commission and part of the Working Group of the Accessible Beach Program. She is also member of the National Jury of the Most Accessible Beach Award, as well as of The Accessible Festivals Program Technical Commission.
For Turismo de Portugal, improving accessibility throughout the value chain is fundamental in qualifying the tourist offer and differentiating Portugal compared to competing destinations. Not only assuring the universality of the tourism activity, but it also represents an excellent business opportunity for tourism stakeholders. Turismo de Portugal’s ALL FOR ALL Program integrates a set of initiatives that aim to raise awareness, inform, train, and support all stakeholders and entities linked to tourism. Turismo de Portugal launched the Accessible Festivals Program and published a guide on good accessibility practices at events. Additionally, the ISO 21902 Standard recommendations were translated into Portuguese, and they are in the process of accreditation, to facilitate the certification of the Portuguese tourism offer. With this mindset, Turismo de Portugal intends to encourage the existence of an inclusive tourist and cultural offer, supporting the promotion of festivals, which contribute to attract flows of national and international tourists throughout the territory, boost local economies and diversify the cultural offer, aiming for the existence of events increasingly adapted to all audiences.
Ignatios Fotiou is an MBA graduate in Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Having the first degree from the department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, at the University of Patras was the trigger to carry on as a research engineer. The passion for innovation led in founding Thinking Out of the Box Engineering Applications (TOBEA Ltd) in 2012, focusing on designing, manufacturing, and marketing mechanical applications for improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. His flagship product is SEATRAC a non-permanent device for autonomous access to the sea for people with disabilities that holds Greek, European and US patents. In 2018, Ignatios was awarded national champion in the Chivas Venture social entrepreneur competition.
TOBEA has achieved remarkable recognition for its innovative initiatives over the years. In 2013, the company received the prestigious first prize for innovation at the second “Greece Innovates!” competition, sponsored by SEB and Eurobank. Subsequently, in 2015, TOBEA was honoured as the national champion for innovation in the European Business Awards (EBA). Their commitment to innovation continued to be acknowledged in 2022 when they received the “Startup of the Year” award from the ACCI. During Ignatios Fotiou’s presentation, he will delve into the inspiring journey of how SEATRAC has evolved into a central figure in Greece’s Accessible Tourism landscape. SEATRAC’s revolutionary offering, which provides unassisted sea access to people with disabilities, stands as an innovative solution that champions independence, while fostering equality, integration, and inclusion. Today, there are over 225 accessible seaside destinations available for everyone to enjoy, with many more on the horizon.
Riccardo Capo is a manager with over 18 years of experience in top management at private, multinational and public companies. He holds the role of CEO of Mirabilandia (biggest Theam Park in Italy). He has developed his career in various markets, ranging from the manufacturing industry and leisure to urban development. He has held roles as General Manager / CEO of international companies both in the Industrial market (SKF, NN, Magneti Marelli, Sorin) and Leisure (EXPO, Parques Reunidos, I.E.G.). Riccardo has a Degree in Mechanical Engineering and two Masters in Lean Management and Six Sigma Black Belt, obtained in the USA. He won international awards in the field of Personnel Development and Lean Manufacturing. Riccardo has also been President of Tourism for Confindustria Ravenna. In 2006 he published the book “5 billion balls” on environmental sustainability of the manufacturing industry.
In the amusement industry, ensuring equal access for everyone to its facilities is of paramount importance. Mirabilandia’s ongoing efforts in this regard are exemplified by their latest project, MiraLis, which was launched in 2023. Collaborating closely with certifying companies and manufacturers, Mirabilandia is dedicated to improving accessibility in theme parks. Their unwavering commitment translates into the assurance of 100% safe and enjoyable entertainment for all visitors. The intervention will demonstrate how Mirabilandia is committed to enhancing its services and expanding accessibility by adhering to the guidelines provided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and those established by Parques Reunidos Centrales. Mirabilandia’s approach is forward-thinking, with no limits set. They are continually looking to the future, striving to expand their services, and enhance inclusivity. Mirabilandia’s goal is not only to provide exceptional experiences, but also to enable others to travel and embark on new adventures.
Director, Infrastructure and Environmental Quality, Municipality of Rimini, Italy
Alberto Dellavalle is the Director of the Infrastructures and Environmental Quality Department of the Municipality of Rimini since 2015. Dellavalle especially deals with public works, environmental policies and civil defence. He has been manager of many projects about urban regeneration, infrastructures enhancement and environmental protection. Alberto Dellavalle is a civil engineer, with a PhD degree in earthquake engineering, and author of several research works published on international scientific journals. He has been a contract teacher at the University of Bologna for many years.
The Sea Park project represents one of the most profound urban transformations that the city of Rimini has conceived and implemented in the past 10 years. It was born from the idea of creating an urban environment dedicated to the city and tourism of all ages, genders and types of users. The project covers a 16-km stretch of coastline and aims to promote culture, wellness and sports and to become a place for residents and tourists to meet and interact, for leisure, wellness and various outdoor events. A physical and spatial transformation that starts from a profound cultural and relational change and addresses the major issues of inclusion and integration of people with disabilities in sports, recreation and leisure activities. Many urban spaces are created within the great infrastructure, places accessible to all without discrimination of age, gender, motor, sensory or mental abilities, where activities promoting social inclusion and intergenerational exchange can be carried out: accessible relax-green-fitness areas, accessible public beach ‘SpiaggiaLiberaTutti’, accessible playground ‘Foresta del Mare’.
Head of Business Support at Visit England / Disability and Access Ambassador for Tourism to the Government of the United Kingdom
Thodoris Tzoumas is the mayor of Skiathos Island in Greece since 2019, position he will hold until 2028. Born in Skiathos in 1979, he studied agriculture and chemistry at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki. Starting in 2009, he has actively volunteered for local associations in Skiathos, focusing on the preservation of the cultural heritage and the protection of the environment, in cooperation with European and Greek organizations. Active member of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe program as he was elected and serves in the Steering Committee of the Governing Board of the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe, covering Greece, Cyprus and Turkey (the European Cemeteries Route, 2015-2028).
The municipality of Skiathos shows great commitment to both infrastructure development and fostering community awareness when it comes to universal accessibility improvements. This dual approach is dedicated to ensuring that any individual with a disability or specific access requirements, whether they are residents or visitors, enjoy equal opportunities and access to services. The municipality of Skiathos recognizes the importance of creating an inclusive environment that prioritizes the needs and well-being of all community members and fosters business development trough disability inclusion in tourism, benefitting the destination and people.
Tommaso occupies his current role at Alpitour World since 2022, being in charge of the harmonisation of communication, as well as commercial and product development. He has a Master’s Degree in Cultural Heritage and Tourism Management and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Tourism and Travel Services Management, as well as a specialisation in digital marketing from MIT in the USA. Tommaso started his career in web marketing at Eden Viaggi and later worked as Travelparks Europe Managing Director at Parques Reunidos, setting goals for several European countries. From 2014 to 2017, he was Sales and Marketing Director for Mirabilandia, the largest amusement park in Italy. Upon his return to Eden Viaggi as Marketing Director in 2017, he played a pivotal role in the digital development and the merger of Hotelplan and Turisanda until 2020. Subsequently, he assumed the role of Alpitour Digital & Direct Sales Director at the Pesaro office of Eden Viaggi in 2020. His ascent within the Alpitour Group propelled him to the positions of Alpitour World Head of Marketing and then Head of Corporate & Tour Operating Marketing.
Alpitour has been dedicated to promoting accessibility since 2008 when the company initiated an internal procedure to check the match between customer with motor disability needs and the services provided by this tour-operator. In 2010, Alpitour introduced the “Barrier-Free” project whose philosophy is the recognition that no two individuals with reduces mobility and specific access requirements are the same, as each person is unique, after all. Starting from this principle, Alpitour lets every customer become aware of all obstacles present in the facilities. In summary, by addressing accessibility, the company can expand its customer base and improve the vacation experience for all people, including those with reduced mobility.
With 30 years of professional experience in psychology and commercial management in the tourism sector, Javier is the Sales Director at Hilton Hotels. Javier oversees the Southern European markets. He holds both an MBA and a Master’s degree in Tourism Business Management. Over the past 12 years, Javier’s focus has been on steering commercial sales and strategy within Luxury, Leisure, and Industry Relationship segments. His extensive experience in the Commercial and Marketing area, is complemented with his knowledge in the distribution of tourism products, having held management positions in companies such as Juliatours, Transhotel, Ilunión hotels and the ACCOR group. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Javier is actively involved in the Abilities Team Member Resources Group (ATMRG), a voluntary initiative aimed at creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all Team Members.
Hilton’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity is embedded in every aspect of the company’s operations. Through governance, education, training, compliance monitoring, and collaboration across Hilton’s core functions, the company ensures that their technology, practices, properties, and workplaces are open and inviting to all, including guests, owners, and Team Members with disabilities. Hilton upholds their Customer Promise, guaranteeing reliable and friendly experiences for their guests, and their Team Member Promise, creating the best and most inclusive work environment. Hilton’s approach is holistic, ensuring compliance with global accessibility standards across all interactions with its software, devices, and services. Hilton strives to offer seamless digital and on-property experiences, enabling all guests to independently explore, book, and stay at Hilton’s hotels. Hilton nurtures a crosscutting culture of inclusion regarding disability. The company educates its teams and stakeholders about the symbiotic relationship between accessible technology and disability inclusion. To support these goals, Hilton provides comprehensive accessibility resources, creating a welcoming environment for all.
Beatriz Miguel is the Director of Operations and Customer Experience at ILUNION Hotels. Her professional career revolves around this company since 2005, when she joined Confortel Hoteles (later renamed “ILUNION Hotels”) as a receptionist. She was promoted within the company through different responsibility positions. She was a Hotel Director for several years, establishing the first Special Employment Center hotel in the world, until reaching her current position as Director of Operations in 2018. Beatriz Miguel has a Degree in Tourism Management and has completed different training programs and obtained Master’s Degrees, including the PDG (Program for General Managers) from IESE, an international business school associated with the University of Navarra.
ILUNION Hotels has undergone a gradual change, a transformation that has made sustainability its focus. The company understands sustainability in a comprehensive manner and incorporates it in discussions and all its business lines, which started off many years ago with a groundbreaking systematic labor inclusion program of persons with disability in its hospitality and supply chain workforce. Sustainability has become the cornerstone of an ambitious 2022-2025 strategic plan, in which the intentions and actions of all ILUNION Hotel’s departments are aligned with a single, incredible purpose: “Building a better world with everyone included”. A plan that boils down to being responsible and sustainable, delivering value and inspiring a change. Looking towards the future, sustainable tourism is the only alternative that the sector has on the horizon, not out of imposition or obligation, but out of absolute conviction. At least, that is where ILUNION Hotels is, a tourism model that represents an opportunity for society and for the planet.
Maurizio serves as a Partner and Co-Founder of Borletti Group. He began his investment career by acquiring the French luxury silverware brand Christofle in 1993 where he served as CEO, leading its turnaround and development until its sale. In 2005, Maurizio, together with Paolo de Spirt, founded Borletti Group, an investment company specializing in Private Equity with a focus on brands and retail. He has held board memberships in Federdistribuzione, EuroCommerce, IADS, IGDS, Comité Colbert, Altagamma, and Confindustria. Through Borletti Group, he has played a key role in the acquisition of Rinascente and Printemps department stores and has also invested in Grandi Stazioni Retail, Moose Knuckles, Moorer and Zimmermann, the San Marino Outlet experience mall, and Hyppocrates, Italy’s largest chain of pharmacies. Borletti Group operates from Luxembourg with subsidiaries in London and Milan. The Group’s Private Equity activities focus on mid-size companies in the retail, luxury, and branded consumer goods.
Shopping tourism is nowadays growing more and more in its economic and social role. From a simple leisure activity, shopping has become an element of strong attraction for any destination. In this context, the issue of accessibility takes centre stage, as any destination aspiring to be a tourist magnet must ensure that all visitors can fully enjoy their shopping experience. Accessibility here goes beyond mere elimination of architectural barriers. San Marino Outlet Experience has been thoughtfully designed to welcome customers with all kinds of disabilities. This commitment is evident through the provision of 66 reserved parking spaces in the covered parking area, ensuring direct access to store levels. The accessibility measures extend throughout the entire facility, guaranteeing wheelchair access to shops, restrooms, restaurants, and the playground area. The staff is trained to cater to the needs of visitors with reduced mobility, and wheelchairs are readily available at no cost to guests. These features contribute to make San Marino Outlet Experience a comfortable shopping destination meeting the highest standards of accessibility and making all visitors feel welcome.
As a quality engineer and health economist, Aleksandar Bajic combines professional knowledge with personal experience. He founded curae.me, a platform that builds bridges between outpatient care services and tourism in Europe and beyond. His commitment stems from a personal experience: the difficulty of finding suitable care for his father, who was on holiday with cancer. In addition to this work, Aleksandar Bajic has been an ambassador for accessibility in his German district for three years, helping the local authority to identify and remove barriers.
Accessibility and care services go hand in hand, and the aim of Curae.me is precisely that of integrating the ambulatory care services within the tourism industry. Based on Aleksandar’s personal experience of a caretaker on holidays and drawing on the intersection of accessibility and care services, this intervention will demonstrate how these elements complement each other. From the point of view of an advocate for accessibility within his district in Germany, Aleksandar will showcase practical examples and strategies for breaking down barriers at both the social and corporate levels.