Convention - Developing Offers for Integrative Outdoor Recreation
||The Upper Austrian Academy of Environment and Nature (Oö. Akademie für Umwelt und Natur) and the Association of Austrian Nature Parks (VNÖ) invited from the 05th to the 06th of February 2009 to the Nature Park Obst-Hügel-Land. More than 30 participants visited the Convention „Developing Offers for Integrative Outdoor Recreation“ in St. Marienkirchen an der Polsenz which devoted itself on the one hand to the theory which is behind successful barrier-free offers and argued, on the other hand, with the practical question of the creation of barrier-free offers on site.
Ulrike Schwarz (Austrian Alpine Club) guided the participants through the Nature Park on a partial distance of the planned experience track "Obstkult[o]ur" and promoted the sensitisation of the participants concerning barriers and the different perspectives were made "experienceable" – in the wheel chair or as a blind person. Together possible adjustments of existing offers were discussed and in five working groups the bases for barrier-free offers were compiled.
Since 2005 the ÖNORM B 1603 is valid for barrier-free tourism facilities. Leo Pürrer (Disabled Person's Self-help Association Hartberg) illustrated the planning bases which are not always easy to understand with practical examples and summed up indispensable architectural conditions.
Hermann Gigler (ÖAR Consultants ltd) concretised the demands for infrastructure and service chain in the barrier-free tourism. Up to now barrier-free offers along the whole service chain hardly exist: aim and at the same time a big challenge is to reach a functioning solution.
Rainer Silber (Nature Park Obst-Hügel-Land) introduced the Nature Park and illustrated the implementation of the 4 columns of a Nature Park „protection, education, recreation and regional development“ with the help of numerous projects. Topically on the conference subject the Nature Park works on the adaptation of the experience programme „Expedition Meadow Orchard“ as well as on the barrier-free creation of the planned experience track "Obstkult[o]ur".
In Austria there is neither a uniform designation nor assessment criteria for barrier-free leisure facilities and recreational facilities as well as for gastronomy and accomodation companies. Franz Handler (Association of Austrian Nature Parks) gave an overview of currently used pictogrammes and corresponding criteria in Austria and Germany and informed about topical initiatives. Verena Langer (Association of Austrian Nature Parks) introduced barrier-free offers from the Nature Parks and informed about the practically oriented training “Getting the Disabled in Touch with Nature” which is offered in May, 2009 for the first time.
The discussions and working groups offered to the participants the possibility for the exchange of views.
Resulting knowledge and suggestions:
- Barrier-free adaptation of existing offers. No creation of "special offers".
- Valid for barrier-free offers: Everybody integrating into all activities! So much self-determination as possible, so much support as inevitably!
- Sensitisation in the linguistic usage! There are handicapped people and not handicapped people, but not handicapped and healthy people!
- There is not the „barrier-free“ offer. Consideration of the kind of handicap – demands for offers are different for wheel chair drivers, blind, deaf or spiritually handicapped people.
- "Product truth" must be kept – exact destrongion of the offer and the infrastructure.
- Exchange of views between the organisations and a network of the knowing and experts is important.
- It is demanded to develop and use uniform and for all understandable pictogrammes for the relevant criteria – users and suppliers profit from it.
- For regions the development of integrative concepts would be important and proper.
- The fact that tourist funds are not automatically attached to the fulfilment of the criteria of the barrier-free environment according to the ÖNORMs, is judged as a basic problem. To receive a fund, minimum standards should have to be kept.
- It requires an education or training of the companions – nature and landscape interpreters and nature mediators. Sensitisation by self-awareness, getting to know and trying the different communication and instructions methods, adapting and lerning to instruct nature experience and perception games.
Opening, Introduction and Closing of the Convention:
Johannes Kunisch, Upper Austrian Academy of Environment and Nature (Oö. Akademie für Umwelt und Natur)
Franz Handler, Association of Austrian Nature Parks (VNÖ)
||Presentation*) about the subject:
ÖAR Consultants ltd
|Integration of barrier-free offers in the touristic environment, demands for infrastructure and service chain in the barrier-free tourism
|Franz Handler and Verena Langer
Association of Austrian Nature Parks (VNÖ)
|Getting the Disabled in Touch with Nature
Disabled Person's Self-help Association Hartberg
|Barrier-free tourism and leisure facilities
Austrian Alpine Club
|Barrier-free offer creation
Nature Park Obst-Hügel-Land
|Introduction to the Nature Park Obst-Hügel-Land
*) On the German homepage the presentations of the referees can be downloaded.
The Association of Austrian Nature Parks thanks all participants and is looking forward to future collaborations.
Brochure of the Austrian Nature Parks