Lisa S./
Meeting Planning, News, Best Case
21 Oct 2015

Accessible conventions and conferences

Exchange and active participation – despite disabilities

In the international competition for conferences and conventions, Germany also plays a leading role with respect to sustainability. Sustainability in the event industry consists in responsible actions aimed at conserving resources not only in the area of economy and ecology, but also in the area of social concerns and thus with regard to the aspect of accessibility.

Germany’s Basic Law and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have established the right of individuals with disabilities to social participation. Conventions and conferences are to be open to all individuals for whom they are important. Individuals with disabilities – whether they are restrictions involving mobility, hearing, sight or of a cognitive nature – are to have the opportunity to participate equally and play a role in shaping their living and working environment.

For event planning, that specifically means: it is important to tailor all of the elements of an event - from travel to and from the destination as well as overnight accommodation to catering as well as the programme of fringe events - to the needs of guests. Examples of that are designing a barrier-free internet version for participant management or planning a communicative get-together that dispenses with bistro tables for the benefit of participants in wheelchairs.

Germany offers good options for barrier-free events: in surveys conducted in connection with the “Meeting & Event Barometer 2015”, roughly 80 percent of service providers stated that the subject is firmly established in their corporate philosophy.

However, there is still room for improvement with regard to how accessibility is communicated: only half of the event facilities provide information about the corresponding service on their websites and 65 percent of the international event organisers surveyed evaluated the information content as inadequate. With the aid of measures such as a white paper on the topic of “Accessibility”, the GCB is helping the German conference and convention industry optimise that aspect as well in order to facilitate planning of barrier-free events.

Scandic Manager for barrierfree Hotels Magnus Berglund, Scandic
Scandic Manager for barrierfree Hotels Magnus Berglund, Scandic


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