Swiss Youth Hostel Association, a member of Hostelling International’s network, has teamed up with the Denk an mich Foundation to make Swiss hostels accessible to everyone enabling enhanced travel experiences to all travellers regardless of disability.
The ‘Holidays for all’ campaign is a three-year project that started in November with various renovations and alterations to the hostels. A new barrier-free extension is already under way in the garden of Stein am Rhein, and two new accessible hostels in Saas-Fee and Gstaad Saanen will open in June.
Fredi Gmür, chief executive of Swiss Youth Hostels explains: “We believe that architectural appearance is not the only aspect that must be taken into account. Marketing and the way we communicate these changes to travellers should also be reviewed.”
It is with this belief in mind that this revolutionary project aims to promote the concept of equality through travel and boost educational programmes to raise awareness of the needs of people with disabilities.
“We believe that taking the travelling needs of people with disabilities seriously is part of our socio-tourism mission. Excluding people would go against our philosophy,” says René Dobler, chief executive of the Swiss Foundation for Social and Responsible Tourism.
Here at HI we are continuously working not just on improving our hostels but enhancing the travel landscape for all. We believe this goal can and will be achieved by breaking down cultural barriers and promoting global understanding; from ‘Sleep for Peace’ to the ‘Big Blog Exchange’, the ‘Holidays for all’ campaign is one of the many initiatives helping to make this vision a reality.