Accessibility Certification Program in Japan

  • Accessibility Certification Program in Japan

    Posted by Josh Grisdale on April 9, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Hi,

    The Japanese Tourism Association (governmental) has introduced a new accessibility certification for hotels/inns, restaurants, and tourist information centers.

    Certification requires:

    • 3+ accessibility features (ie communication board, ramp, braille menu, etc)
    • Yearly staff training on disability and accessibility
    • Listing accessibility features on external websites like Trip Advisor etc

    I think it is great to see a program like this. The first batch of certifications will be coming soon.

    When talking to my contacts in the association we wondered if such a progam exists in other countries?

    If you have seen it in other places, please let us know!

    TabiFolk replied 9 months, 2 weeks ago 6 Members · 18 Replies
  • 18 Replies
  • Josh Grisdale

    Member
    April 12, 2021 at 10:01 am

    That is great to hear – I hope it starts becoming common in even more countries!

    Does anyone know of other places with this system?

  • pieterghijsels

    Organizer
    April 15, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Sounds like the A and A+ labels in Flanders, Belgium. Although the criteria are a bit different. VisitFlanders only awards the label to holiday accommodations, visitor centres and tourism information offices, if the level of accessibility is over-all at least usable with some assistance (for a level A) or independently (A+). The focus, so far, lies mostly on wheelchair accessibility, although other features are also noted. Much attention is given to the chain of accessibility: an easy connection from the parking lot or entrance to the bathroom and any other ‘essential’ facility on the way. The information is available as text and pictures in a dedicated catalogue by VisitFlanders (actually, two books: https://lnkd.in/dMmbPNH). Of course, it’s always recommended to post the accessibility features on any other platform and in any communication. It’s something to proud be of.

    Requiring a yearly staff training is a good suggestion. How is this organised in Japan?

    • Josh Grisdale

      Member
      April 15, 2021 at 10:50 pm
      At the moment I think it is self identified for the training. So they just need to say that they have had some sort of training, and that is not regulated I don’t believe. It is a new program so I think there’s a lot to work out still. I have been involved in the training for a bus company and the guy that was just self-reported, so the quality will depend on speaker I guess.
      Is visit Flanders a government organization or a private entity?
    • pieterghijsels

      Organizer
      April 20, 2021 at 9:35 pm

      Visit Flanders is a government organization. It’s the Tourism administration for the region (we don’t have a national tourism organization in Belgium). As the ministry for Tourism, Visit Flanders has its say on the development and promotion of Flanders. However, regular tourism education is the ministry of Education’s responsibility. We do have a set of training methods about accessible tourism, tailor-made for desk staff, management, tour guides, travel agents, etc. These sessions are not mandatory, so it depends on the people’s willingness to follow such a training. Some sessions take half a day, the more in-depth formula takes a full day and comes with a team of coaches with different disabilities. We’ve also started with online introductory sessions.

      So, that’s why I’m interested to hear other countries’ take on (mandatory) training, as a quality standard.

    • Josh Grisdale

      Member
      April 21, 2021 at 10:11 am

      Accessibility / diversity training has been required for transportation/public entities for a while and I have actually conducted it for an airport bus company. There was no set curriculum, and it was mostly left to me with the company asking I focus on the perspective of an international traveler. Then they only had to submit that staff had training to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Travel. I assume it will be similar. Hopefully the next step will be to create a curriculum. (Note: I wasn’t their first “instructor”, so perhaps the 1st year a company does the training there is actually a set curriculum and subsequent years can be more free.)

    • Ohayo Travel

      Member
      April 15, 2021 at 10:51 pm

      Hello Pieter,

      The kind of the subject organizations seem more or less the same.

      I think the standard the labeling is requesting is not the one comparative to yours in VisitFlanders. It requires only

      1 offering more than 3 kind of accessibility related service (you can choose the easiest three if you wish)

      2 conducting accessibility related training program to the staffs more than once a year

      3 releasing/providing information in at least one of third party’s websites.

      The above does not secure any physical accessibility of the facility itself. Besides, satisfying the 3 kinds only of accessibility service would not make the difference in real term. So the labeling would not ensure a certain (normally expected level of) accessibility services.

      Nevertheless I think this program is a good progress because it is a nationwide initiative and we will have common understanding that at least the labeled hotels/restaurants/info centers are (even if at the minimal level) caring about the accessibilities.

    • Ohayo Travel

      Member
      April 15, 2021 at 10:59 pm

      So you do not label restaurants in Flanders. Understood.

    • pieterghijsels

      Organizer
      April 15, 2021 at 11:13 pm

      Indeed, the current system with on the spot audits by accessibility experts is rather costly (for VisitFlanders). The sheer number of restaurants and bars in our country requires another approach. In my opinion, a label is most of all a means of promotion, provided that it’s backed by more specific – reliable and relevant – information and that its meaning is clear. If not, it will lose its value quickly. It’s a rather basic means of communication over-all, compared to more personalised digital tools, but especially in print media it helps to highlight the places with a certain (level of) service.

  • Josh Grisdale

    Member
    May 7, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Just came across this from Greece:

    https://inclusivegreece.com/en/

    • pieterghijsels

      Organizer
      May 7, 2021 at 11:33 pm

      So, Greece adopted the German labelling system? I’m impressed.

    • Josh Grisdale

      Member
      May 8, 2021 at 6:03 pm

      Does @kamil know about this? Or have other details?

  • Joan Pahisa

    Member
    May 9, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Hi,

    In Spain it’s not still implemented, but they are also working on a certificate of accessibility (mainly for hotels, though, as far as I know). It’s being promoted by Fundación ONCE (the biggest organization working towards accessibility in Spain), with the approval of the Spanish government.

    Aside from this certificate more catered to the built environment, the same organization also has a label that certifies accessibility of smartphones (http://amovil.es/en) and another for the accessibility of technology based products (Sello A-Tech). Both are based on the European standard for digital accessibility (EN 301.549).

    Also, a couple of years ago, in a congress about accessible tourism that I attended in Spain, there was an organization from Bulgaria that also had an accessibility label system for hotels and other tourist attractions. It was still in the early stages of deployment and not widespread. The seal had three levels, gold, silver and bronze depending on the accessibility features of the venue. I can’t remember the name of the organization and have not been able to find it online either.

    Anyway, at least it seems that more and more countries are taking accessibility more seriously and working towards it.

  • Kamil

    Member
    July 18, 2021 at 5:04 am

    Wow I had no idea about Greece, even though I am living here, so I am even more impressed than @pieterghijsels ?

  • TabiFolk

    Organizer
    December 14, 2021 at 10:33 am

    There is a mention of an accessibility label for businesses in Greece in this article:

    https://news.gtp.gr/2021/12/07/greece-aims-to-launch-tourism-business-accessibility-label/

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