No extra cost, verified accessibility
The excursions will be available at no extra cost, with accessibility verified by AISM, in accordance with the most advanced international good practices.
The 'Adagio Tours' will be available for booking Jan. 1 for Mediterranean cruises on Costa Diadema. At every port, at least one group excursion will be offered that is accessible to everyone. The cities with accessible tours currently include Genoa, Marseilles, Barcelona, Palermo, Rome, Palma de Mallorca and Cagliari.
Open to anyone who needs to go at a slower pace
Adagio Tours have been developed for all travelers who need to go at a slower pace and are particularly suited to parents with strollers, the elderly and people with permanent or temporary mobility impairments.
The excursions have been devised and tested with the help of 15 women with multiple sclerosis, trained and selected by AISM via the 'WAT! Women Accessibility Tourism' program funded by the Costa Crociere Foundation. These women—some with no permanent job, others who are students, recent graduates or part-time workers, all passionate about travel and tourism—attended a 160-hour training course on land and on board Costa ships, benefiting from the experience of AISM and a team of Costa excursion experts.
Following this training, starting with a few excursions offered by Costa, they contributed to planning the tours, testing them first-hand and taking into consideration every detail relating to accessibility, route mapping, tourism experiences and getting the most out of local attractions. The skills gained will also help the 15 women find employment in the field of sustainable tourism.
'Our aim of achieving a world free of multiple sclerosis also means ensuring full inclusion and the opportunity for everyone to live their life beyond multiple sclerosis,' AISM president Mario Alberto Battaglia said. Priorities in AISM's 2020 agenda include access to stable employment and the right to inclusion, which also means accessible tourism, he added.
Call to action
'With the cooperation of AISM and the contribution of our Foundation, we have tackled the subject of accessible tourism in a responsible way, with the aim of making significant changes to people's lives,' Costa president Neil Palomba said. 'This project, which is a real innovation in the cruise world, is an important step forward towards including people with disabilities and ensuring that there are no more differences and that everyone can share the same experiences when on vacation.
Costa plans to expand this initiative to further ships, and Palomba hopes other cruise operators will get involved and provide similar excursions.