Costa Cruises, AISM (the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association) and the Costa Crociere Foundation announced that following a study, guests with disabilities will be able to participate in group shore excursions, at no extra cost, with accessibility verified by AISM, according to a statement.
The new tours, “Adagio Tours,” will be available for booking from January 1, 2019 for Mediterranean cruises on the Costa Diadema.
“With the cooperation of AISM and the contribution of our Foundation, we have tackled the subject of accessible tourism in a responsible way, with the aim of making significant changes to people’s lives. This project, which is a real innovation in the world of cruises, is an important step forward towards including people with disabilities and ensuring that there are no more differences and that everyone can share the same experiences when on vacation. I hope our initiative can be extended to the whole sector in future,” said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises, adding he hopes to roll out the new tours fleetwide.
At every port of call, at least one group excursion will be offered that is accessible to everyone, including guests with impaired mobility, and this is available at no extra cost, Costa said.
Ports included are Genoa, Marseilles, Barcelona, Palermo, Rome, Palma de Mallorca and Cagliari. “
The tours have been curated by 15 women with multiple sclerosis, who were trained and selected by AISM thanks to the “WAT! Women Accessibility Tourism” program funded by the Costa Crociere Foundation.
These women – some with no permanent job, others who are students, recent graduates or part-time workers, are all passionate about travel and tourism, Costa said, and they attended a specific 160-hour training course on land and onboard Costa ships.
Following this training, starting with a few excursions already included in the Costa’s program, they contributed to planning the tours, testing them first hand and taking into consideration every detail relating to accessibility, route mapping, tourism experiences, making the most of local attractions. T
“AISM has been about people, rights and research for 50 years. Our aim of achieving a world free of multiple sclerosis also means ensuring full inclusion and the opportunity for everyone to live their life beyond multiple sclerosis. This is why the priorities in our Agenda for 2020 include access to stable employment and the right to inclusion, which also means accessible tourism. AISM is working to achieve change with a real impact on people’s lives. The social value of our actions, as an Association, lies in achieving changes that benefit everyone with a mobility impairment and everyone in the community with similar problems. Change has to be contagious and applied to civil society as a whole,” said Mario Alberto Battaglia, President of AISM.