Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director, European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT)
Keynote lecture: "Information and Communication in the Service of Accessible Tourism for All".
This presentation puts the spotlight on the tourism industry and, in particular, on the increasing demands for “accessible” experiences for all visitors. People with disabilities and the massive numbers of senior travellers clearly have a stake in the delivery of accessible tourism environments and services but, taking a global view, progress towards ensuring equal access for all visitors is typically very “patchy” or even non-existent. The tourism industry as a whole needs to do better but given the multi-facetted characteristics of the sector, how do we address this challenge? What role can we play? Information management plays a crucial role in enabling travel and tourism, at all stages of the visitor journey and across the service delivery chain. Information and communication technologies are, indeed, changing the way we search, book, check-in, travel and experience our surroundings. With mobile devices we can browse a menu and order a meal, followed up with a multimedia message to family, friends and rating websites. Gradually, multi-modal systems and devices are bringing possibilities to groups of people who were previously ignored or who were excluded by technologies. I believe there are many "bright spots” and good practices in the tourism field that give us hope and perhaps point the way to a better future, where all people will have the confidence and ability to travel and where truly accessible experiences are increasingly available. As researchers and developers let us consider how we might take up the challenge of acting as intermediaries between the tourism providers, the cultural and creative industries and the visitors, with the goal of creating accessible tourism experiences for all.
Ivor works as an independent consultant on issues concerning people, places and technology, with particular focus on accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities and older people. For over 35 years he has contributed to research, policy development, project management and international standards. He has held positions in academia, private companies and the public sector, including the Danish Building Research Institute and the European Commission. He is a founding member of the European Network for Accessible Tourism non-profit association (ENAT), which he has led as the elected Managing Director for 10 years. Born in England, Ivor has lived and worked in the UK, Denmark, Belgium and Greece and now divides his time between Cambridge, UK and Athens, Greece. He holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Psychology from the University of Surrey, UK (1979) and the academic title of “Senior Researcher” gained while working at the Danish Building Research Institute (1991).