Pleasure for all; also American states in the Netherlands …?

Autistic American sues Disney

The Tampabay Times headlines on 2 October ‘Man with Autism who sued Disney theme park gets Feb. 18 trial date’. Disney in Florida had changed its policy for guests with disabilities in 2014, due to abuse. For a guest with an autistic disability, this was unpalatable; it deviated from his standard routine and structure. He has been litigating for 5 years …

Do we want American conditions in the Netherlands too …?

Disney is a leisure company that values inclusiveness and accessibility. I would wish the same for all Dutch parks! In theory, it should also be so. After all, the Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability and Illness Act (in force since July 2017) states that every person, including those with disabilities, has the right to tourism and enjoyment (in line with UN Declaration 2016). Do Dutch parks put this into practice? Are we the open, resourceful ánd inclusive country as the ministries of BZ and EZ want to profile ‘The Netherlands’ from now on (Volkskrant dd 4-10-19)?Do we want American conditions in the Netherlands too …?

Good example follows … who will follow?

At the IAAPA fair in Paris, I attended a workshop on inclusivity at Gardaland park from Italy. Their mantra is ‘Gardaland 4 All’ and their motto is ‘Awareness, Hospitality and Accessibility’. Gardaland has found a new balance; more inclusive while complying with safety, laws and regulations. Quite deliberately in that order! It leads to higher customer satisfaction of people with mental, physical and sensory disabilities. And to more visitors and more turnover! Italian manufacturer Zamperla also informed me about their ‘All-Access Programme’ in which they adapt existing attractions such as The Swing, Magic bike and Tea Cup to people who are in wheelchairs. How cool is that!

These are inspiring examples that tie in with my dream of ‘Pleasure for all’. In my opinion, the US article mainly illustrates how complex it is to cater to guests with different disabilities. My screening on inclusion of the websites of the Club of Eleven participants shows that Dutch day recreation entrepreneurs mainly translate inclusiveness into physical accessibility. Only a few show vision or ambition for inclusion or have an eye for non-physical limitations. Rarely is accessibility considered at the design stage of a new attraction …! A single park has an adapted attraction. In the leisure segment ‘museums’, I notice that the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum do have a vision of inclusivity and accessibility. And adapted activities such as: ‘Sensory Tour’ and ‘Tour for people with dementia and their loved ones’. So it can be done.

Connecting leisure with social inclusion

Do you want to develop a vision in the field of inclusiveness and accessibility and do you want to make your park more accessible, but do not know exactly how? Joint Projects develops new business concepts and an ‘All Access Programme’ for an inclusive and accessible attraction or holiday park. Please contact: Karin Stiksma: [email protected], +31(0)6 19057019.



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