Inclusive tourism and exchange of best practices: the ADRINCLUSIVE project kicks off

The kickoff meeting of the Interreg project involving Italy and Croatia for the development of inclusive and accessible tourism was held in Brindisi on 3 July 2024. Romagna Tech, AFAM Marche and the cities of the Croatian coast are participating in the project, which is led by the Municipality of Brindisi and is the brainchild of Clust-ER Health and Fondazione Maratona Alzheimer.

Italy is known for its rich culture, landscape and gastronomy, which attracts tourists from all corners of the world. However, for many people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, travel and tourism can seem like an impossible task. This is where the ADRINCLUSIVE project comes in, an innovative initiative that aims to make tourism accessible and inclusive for people with these conditions and their families.

The ADRINCLUSIVE project is funded by the Interreg Italy-Croatia program and is the result of a collaboration between several entities and institutions. The main promoters include Clust-ER Health of Emilia-Romagna and the Alzheimer’s Marathon Foundation, with support from Romagna Tech. The main goal of the project is to develop an inclusive tourism model that can be replicated in other regions and countries, providing tailored travel and vacation opportunities for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Objectives of ADRINCLUSIVE

The ADRINCLUSIVE project has several strategic goals, including:

  • Training of tourism professionals to increase awareness of the specific needs of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes hotel staff, restaurateurs, tour guides, and other tourism professionals.
  • Creation of accessible facilities and services adapted to the needs of people with these conditions, including the creation of safe tourist routes, adaptation of accommodation facilities, and provision of medical and care support during the stay.
  • Organisation of pilot vacations, in order to test and improve the services offered, involving people with dementia and Alzheimer’s and their family members. These vacations will be used to gather valuable feedback to further improve tourism offerings.
  • Development of an online platform, which can serve as a reference point for families and caregivers looking for inclusive tourism opportunities. The platform will offer information on available destinations, facilities and services, as well as provide support and advice.

What are the benefits of inclusive tourism?

Inclusive tourism not only improves the quality of life for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, but also offers a number of tangible benefits for both the individuals involved and society as a whole. In fact, improving the physical and mental well-being of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s can be directly related to tourism activities, which stimulate the mind, reduce stress, and provide opportunities for socialisation. In addition, this also offers support for loved ones and caregivers to take a break from their demanding and often undervalued role, allowing them to relax and recharge. This can help prevent burnout and improve the quality of care provided.

Not only that. Inclusive tourism also represents an economic development opportunity for tourism destinations that choose to adapt and accommodate this market segment. Indeed, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment can attract new visitors and generate additional revenue and stimulate the deployment of new technologies. This is why the project also includes an open call, to identify innovative solutions, services or assistive technologies capable of responding to the peculiar needs of the target audience in question. Clust-ER Health will also offer its support in mapping and gathering solutions at this stage.

The future of inclusive tourism

The ADRINCLUSIVE project is only the beginning of a journey toward more inclusive and accessible tourism for all. The good practices and models developed can be replicated and adapted in other regions and countries, helping to create a global network of inclusive tourism destinations.

In the future, it is hoped that inclusive tourism will become standard practice in the tourism industry, ensuring that all people, regardless of their health conditions, can enjoy the wonders of travel and cultural experiences.

The ADRINCLUSIVE project is an example of how innovation and collaboration can lead to meaningful and positive solutions for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. By creating a model of inclusive tourism, the project not only improves the quality of life for participants, but also raises public awareness and promotes a more inclusive society that cares about the well-being of all people. With the continued support and commitment of all stakeholders involved, inclusive tourism has the potential to become a widespread and accessible reality globally.

The Clust-ERs are financed by the European Funds of the Emilia-Romagna Region - ERDF ROP 2014-2020