To Make Tourism in Turkey - Izmir Accessible for All

Welcome Message

Minister of Culture and Tourism

Omar Celik
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Dear All!


The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ömer Çelik said that they “fully support accessible culture and tourism”:


 He continued; “for the areas of our responsibility, we continuously work on an accessible life both in practice and Research & Development”. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism which works with full power to be successful on all areas and which improves it’s apprehension of serving the public, especially draws attention with its innovative policies that become operative during the leadership of Minister Ömer Çelik. 


The Ministry, which increases the level of quality each day, gives a big importance to the “accessible life” projects in the areas of its responsibility. Many projects are carried out to let the handicapped people reach more the services of the Ministry. The Ministry that realized many projects such as increasing the bed capacity in the touristic facilities and to increase the level of service in those facilities, audio books, home delivered books lately speed up the plans to remove the obstacles at the historical places. 


Minister Çelik, related with the works said; “For the areas of our responsibility, we continuously work on an accessible life both in practice and Research & Development. We everyday add new projects related with the handicapped people in the areas of our responsibility. These projects especially become reality in the museums, which the handicapped citizens visit intensively. During the last two years, my Ministry spent 454.165 TL for accessibility in 10 museums and with the required equipment these museums became an accessible environment.


We are planning to finish the arrangement of five more museum and historical sites for the handicapped people before the end of 2014. When we look back in the last ten years for the rearrangement, repair, area organization of existing 44 museums and 2 historical sites and building of new museum buildings, for the use of the handicapped we spend 2.213.900 TL. 


The other areas under the responsibility of my Ministry are the libraries. We reorganize the libraries, which are the most important centers to reach information, for the handicapped citizens. For handicapped citizens, which cannot go to the library, our Ministry through the National Library puts two services in commission. These two services are; Talking Books and Service Center for the Visually Impaired. By these improvements, by using the advanced search options of the libraries website, the users can download the audio books of the catalogue to their computers or can reach the information online”.

Minister Çelik said when you look in the Tourism Industry there is another story and continued; “As a reality of the sector, each brick we put in tourism, is a service for our citizens and becomes for tourists an element of attraction. Because the Tourism Sector on the world uses the term “handicapped” in a different and wider concept. Older people, because of some limitations in their movements are also accepted in this category. We see that in Europe, this age group has both in means of budget and health possibility to travel, and therefore they are an important part of our target audience for our Tourism for handicapped”. 

Under the context of Accessibility Strategy and National Action Plan, to put the law and regulations in action, to work systematically, to make correct and adequate applications, Minister Çelik said that they believe it is important to work in coordination with the central and local administrations. He said Hotels and Holiday Villages over a certain capacity already have responsibilities for accessibility, however the Ministry also encourages and advices smaller facilities also to make the required arrangements for accessibility.


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Izmir Governer

Mustafa Toprak
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Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank you for honoring us with your participation and I salute you as the Governor of Izmir.

İzmir, Turkey’s third most developed city, now is on the way to be accessible destination for all.

We believe that every country and destination must have tourism policy that includes all citizens and visitors taking into account the access needs of people of different ages and abilities. A warm welcome for tourists is essential and is the first priority for us also for tourism business. 

The stakeholders of the participant countries will gather to present their new ideas and learn from each other’s experiences. The outcomes of such organizations will contribute to the world’s future of Accessible Tourism for All. By developing accessible tourism, the public sector and tourism business can improve the quality of tourism for all visitors.

            Turkey with its cultural, naturel and historical assets, mild climate  are ready to welcome everybody with great respect of hospitality.

            Joining our hands, Let’s make make the world accessible for all.

I would like to thank all of you in advance for your cooperation and precious support.

I sincerely salute you all.


Değerli Katılımcılar,

Bayanlar ve Baylar,

Katılımızın ile bizleri onurlandırdığınız için çok teşekkür ediyorum ve İzmir Valisi olarak sizleri selamlıyorum.

İzmir, Türkiye'nin üçüncü büyük şehri, artık herkes için erişilebilir bir destinasyon olma yolunda.

Biz, her ülke ve destinasyonun, bütün vatandaşlarına ve farklı yaş ve yetenekleri olan insanların erişim ihtiyaçlarını  göz önünde bulundurduğu turizm politikaları olması gerektiğini düşünüyoruz. Tüm turistler için sıcak bir karşılama bizim için ve turizm sektörü için başlıca esastır.

Katılımcı ülkelerin paydaşları,  yeni fikirler sunmak ve birbirlerinin deneyimlerinden faydalanmak için bir araya gelecek. Bu tür organziasyonların sonuçları Herkes için Erişilebilir Turizm konusunda dünyanın geleceğine katkıda bulunacaktır. Kamu sektörü ve turizm sektörü erişilebilir turizmi geliştirerek, tüm ziyaretçiler için turizmin kalitesini artırabiliriz.

Kültürel, doğal güzellikleri ve tarihsel değerleri, ve misafirperverliği ile tüm ziyaretçilerimizi büyük bir saygı ile ağırlamaya hazırız.

Güçlerimizi birleştirerek, hepimiz için dünya erişilebilir hale yapalım.

İşbirliğiniz ve değerli desteğiniz için şimdiden hepinize teşekkür etmek istiyorum.

Hepinizi saygıyla selamlıyorum.

ENAT Managing Director

Ivor Ambrose
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Dear All, 

I would like to take this opportunity to “WELCOME “ you All!


“ENAT members believe that every country and destination must have a tourism policy that includes all citizens and visitors, taking into account the access needs of people of different ages and abilities. Tourism experiences should be inclusive - for everyone - which means including people with disabilities, older people and families with small children. A warm welcome for tourists is essential and is the first priority for a tourism business. Part of that welcome is making sure that the places and services that are offered to tourists are accessible, comfortable and safe for everyone. Through working in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, ENAT has seen that, when tourism operators, managers of tourist sites, the transport companies and travel agencies train their staff to understand customers’ access needs and make their services accessible, they can reach a wider market and their incomes increase. By developing accessible tourism, the public sector and tourism businesses can improve the quality of tourism for all visitors. It is also evident that better accessibility for tourists also brings better access for the citizens of a country and destination, so this policy has benefits for all people. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has recently published its Recommendations on Accessible Tourism for All, which were developed with the help of ONCE Foundation and ENAT.  We would like to see Turkey, with its unique heritage, culture and tourist attractions, taking bolder steps towards becoming an accessible destination, so that every tourism business, every region and every city can welcome a wider range of visitors. We are very pleased to be supporting this conference, with our partners in Izmir who are already active in this field, to help make accessible tourism for all a reality in Turkey and the region”.  

MENA ENAT Regional Representative

Ibrahim Abu-Helil
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Dear All!



It’s something that needs to be said simply and plainly:


Our tourism industry in Europe, MENA, Turkey, Izmir and many other touristic attractions around the world are all losing every year billions of $ Dollars.


Simply, due to having taken too long to understand the seriousness of inaccessible destinations for our travellers, holidays’ goers, restaurants’ goers, festivals’ goers and other potential goers with access needs. Plainly what all these goers in need and wish to have, is just that there access requirements are met like those of other customers.


In the last decade, all UN’s agencies have given indications and guides saying that “watch it” the numbers of tourists with access needs are on the increase. A recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, using the United Nation’s latest demographic figures, tells us that in 2050, for the first time in our history, there will be more over-65s in the world than children under the age of five. It’s something that needs to be said plainly again that nowadays, fewer people are being born today but, above all, fewer of us are dying and this phenomenon has multiple causes on our industry and is affecting all nations, without distinction between rich or poor countries.


To avoid making the same mistakes of the past again, we must no longer ignore these modern demographic trends and stop marginalizing this market and we should speed up the process by integrating accessibility into our “National Tourism Strategies” to make our beautiful tourism industry opens for everyone. Moreover, we need to work closer and closer with each other and within the framework “think globally” and “act locally” in order to establish a world of tourism for everyone and this is another importance drive of Izmir event and the future coming ones alike.


The Izmir event demonstrates that this is another great opportunity for us in the advocacy seat for tourism that should be accessible for all, to prove that there is a need for awareness to all our industry public/private stakeholders and there is great need for such events to be called for and organized to build up a better cooperation and wider network to create greater the power of Accessible Tourism in the world.


For citizens of our MENA region countries, Turkey represents as one of their favorite touristic destinations and it sad to see that many families and friends have to leave some of their beloved family members or friends at home and simply due to lack of accessible offers by some Turkish destinations. By taking the initiative inviting ENAT in April and hosting this event in November, I guess and hope all you would agree that by these steps Izmir is taking the right steps towards preparing its destinations to be more competitive and leading in attracting more of MENA tourism out bond family market.


Izmir event aims to bring the whole chain of tourists service providers and policy makers of all sectors in culture, health and wellness, medical and treatments, leisure and entertainments, sport, fitness and golf clubs, museums and heritage, food and culinary arts, handcrafts, hospitality and tourism education and training institutions, travel agencies and tour operators, tour guides, shopping malls, transportation and aviation, municipalities and city councils, Mothers with small Children, the Young, the Elderly and People with Disabilities to the heart of a more inclusive global industry, with the purposes to highlight of how tourism for all will serve the sustainability of our industry and how accessibility will positively lead to create more business opportunity and employability for all Izmir and Turkish society. 


Another importance of the event, it is the first of such worldwide international event to be organized in Turkey and Izmir with speakers, experts and specialists of different tourism accessibility professions and backgrounds as the event invited researchers, practitioners, policymakers, planners, architects, trainers and consultants specialized in different areas of tourism accessibility and from different countries such as Europe, Japan, Australia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, Egypt, Qatar, Tunis and Algeria etc.


Dear All!


To conclude, the purpose of this event is to present a discussion forum to identify key policies, strategies, tools, better practices and to provide information to policy makers, industry service providers, consumers and the public on what is Accessible Tourism for all: What is it all about for our tourism beautiful industry. And moreover, to designate a “workshop” with all Izmir public and private stakeholders, to identify a framework for a future strategy that would encourage policies and actions to prepare and promote Accessible Tourism for all in Izmir.


It is my pleasure to extend this invitation to you all to participate in our 1st Euro-MENA-Izmir Forum-Expo on Accessible Tourism with the theme Izmir TOURISM FOR ALL that to be held from 28th November till 1st December 2014, at Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Cesme, Izmir, Turkey.


Izmir-Cesme is a prefect destination to be there, so on behalf of the event Committee Members in Europe, MENA region and Izmir I wish you all a safe trip and a pleasant stay in Cesme Radisson Blu by having an enjoyable experience and contributing generously and open-handedly into Izmir-Cesme local tourism market.




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