- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
South Moravian Tourism Center Makes Region More Accessible for Wheelchair Users and Others with Reduced Mobility
Traveling can be a challenging endeavor for individuals who use wheelchairs, parents with prams, or people with reduced mobility. Often, they embark on journeys to unfamiliar places without knowing whether these destinations will be easily accessible to them. Recognizing this issue, the South Moravian Tourism Centre has undertaken an initiative to make the region more friendly and accommodating for individuals with mobility challenges. As part of this project, wheelchair users were sent to evaluate selected tourist destinations firsthand. This effort has received support from the CzechTourism agency, which is actively promoting accessible tourism.
To map out accessible tourist destinations, the South Moravia Tourism Center collaborated with the ParaCENTRUM Fénix organization, with which it has a long-standing partnership.
Martina Grůzová, the director of the South Moravian Tourism Centre, explained the process, stating, “We selected destinations where wheelchair users went together with a technician and a photographer. They carefully recorded everything, from the arrival, the entrances to the buildings, through the slope of the terrain and surfaces to the tour routes themselves. I think this is excellent feedback for the tourist destinations themselves – now they know if they have reserves from the point of view of wheelchair users and what can be improved.”
During the summer months, the participants in this testing program visited a total of 13 destinations across South Moravia, including the Slavic hillfort in Mikulčice, Hodonín Zoo, the castle in Slavkov, the House of Nature in the Moravian Karst, and the South Moravian Museum in Znojmo.
Alena Jankotová, coordinator of volunteers at ParaCENTRUM Fénix, emphasized the importance of this initiative, stating, “Every piece of information that a person in a wheelchair receives about the accessibility of an object is valuable. The mapping in our project was carried out by the wheelchair users themselves, and thanks to this, the information provided is accurate and true. In addition, detailed photographs were taken of each location, which can supplement the visual information, so the user can imagine for themselves how accessible the location is for them personally.”
The results of the “South Moravia without barriers” project will be integrated into the nationwide Vozejkmap guidebook, providing information on accessible tourist destinations in the Czech Republic and abroad. The Vozejkmap accessibility map is managed by the Czech Association of Paraplegics (CZEPA).
Jaroslav Náhlík, a client of ParaCENTRA Fenix, who uses a wheelchair himself, shared his perspective, saying, “As a wheelchair user, I myself participated in the project of mapping the accessible destinations of South Moravia, and I believe that it is a great inspiration for people with wheelchair mobility, where to go on a trip.”
The mapping project revealed varying levels of accessibility at tourist sites in South Moravia. Newer buildings typically presented fewer problems, while older structures posed greater challenges for wheelchair users. Importantly, the project also highlighted the willingness of people to assist in overcoming obstacles when they arose.
Article by Prague Forum