Second stop: Charleston, South Carolina!
Charleston was the second city that the accessible tourism representatives of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, D.A.MOVE social enterprise and Dagipoli dance company, NGO Περπατώ - Perpato, Prosvasis.co start-up, NGO Alli Opsi, Municipality of Komotini, and Greece4all platform spent visited during their International Visitor Leadership Program.
Charleston is a well-preserved historic city that owes much to its warm, sunny climate, and its proximity to the sea. Tourism plays a vital and important role in the area' s economy and over the last decades the city has made efforts and developments to attract tourists with disabilities by improving wheelchair accessibility while maintaining the integrity of the city's historic structures and beauty.
The Greek delegation visited Nathan Russell Museum House, an important historic home in the downtown Charleston area, which has developed new approaches to improve accessibility at a historic landmark. The visitors also met with a representative of Achieving Wheelchair Equality, a non-profit organization founded to educate the public about the need for people with mobility problems to have an accessible environment, thus achieving a better quality of life. In addition, the Greek participants met with a representative of Adaptive Expeditions, a newly-founded interactive educational nonprofit using sport and recreation to offer health and wellness programs to visitors and citizens with physical and sensory disabilities. The participants had also the opportunity to visit the Old Slave Mart Museum, the first African-American museum, which was also added to the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Charleston's African-American history, and which is a fully accessible museum. Also, the Greek group visited the Municipality of Charleston and had the opportunity to meet with and discuss with the ADA Coordinator for City of Charleston and the special advisor to the Mayor of Charleston on adoption and implementation of public policies and procedures that improve accessibility in the city and on monitoring local businesses, buildings, and facilities for compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
This is the first time that the U.S. EMBASSY ATHENS is sponsoring a study visit for professionals working at the tourism and disabilities fields, aiming to help Greek tourism stakeholders to improve their access services.
Next stop: Orlando, Florida, the number one tourist destination in the world!