Accessible tourism: Pórtugos, in the heart of Las Alpujarras

In the middle of Alpujarra Granada is the 1st Smart Village in Spain. It is called Pórtugos and thanks to a joint action between its City Council, La Ciudad Accesible and Outbarriers (Digitalilusion) has started its path in Accessible Tourism. We tell you everything!

A proposal in FITUR

At the end of 2017, the Accessible City proposed to Pórtugos the option of being the 1st smart town in Spain by implanting the system based on accessible beacons that we developed under the Outbarriers brand.

Photo of the mayor, councilor and representative of the Mancunidad de las Alpujarras where they pose with the promotional poster in Fitur.

Photograph of the presentation of Pórtugos accessible at Fitur 2018

The mayor and his government team did not think twice. They saw a clear opportunity to promote accessible tourism and offer a service that is necessary and different from what is currently offered at the national level.

The challanges

Since its introduction until a few days ago, we have been working to make it a reality.

The most important challenge was to have available the new accessible beacon, the Outbeacon.

This new beacon triples the battery life compared to the old model and also incorporates help for both blind and deaf people.

It also includes improvements in maintenance and has a careful design.

Picture of Outbeacon on restaurant's wall

Outbeacon installed on restarurant wall

Another important issue was determining the number and location of the beacons to provide a satisfactory user experience.

Thanks to the team of the City Council of Pórtugos, this task could be carried out in a simple way.

But without a doubt, the biggest challenge is always to develop accurate accessibility messages, rich in content and adjusted.

With our work methodology refined with the experience in these years, it is carried out and managed efficiently and effectively.

The beacon is the tip of the iceberg. Below is a cloud infrastructure developed with cutting-edge technologies from the Web field, Smart Cities, GIS and IoT. It is this platform that allows us to scale and support facilities with many beacons.

Accessible tourism

It is a reality. We speak of a quality tourism, which demands quality in the services that are provided and understands that it is necessary to pay for it a suitable price.

We are talking about a huge market. Just remember a figure that impacts: 15% of the world's population suffer some type of disability (source: World Health Organization 2011 - Disabilities Report). Almost 1 in 5 people.

It is clear that there is demand but, is there an offer? 

According to Adecco Foundation, 56% do not travel for lack of an adequate offer. More than a half.

But let's not forget. Technology, as in many other fields, alone does not solve anything.

The first thing is to have a human team empathized with accessibility, inclusion and equal opportunities. That has the sensitivity that is needed and of course, the training.

Then it is necessary to develop, execute and measure a strategic plan to transform the environment.

And of course, listen to the feedback that customers and users provide to improve the system.

Much remains to be done, but today Portugos has started its path in Accessible Tourism.

The pilot experience

To check and validate the solution implemented in Portugos, a group of blind and deaf people, altruistically, agreed to accompany us and live the experience of an itinerary.

The experience was very rewarding for everyone.

Blind users across the street during the testing

Blind users during the testing
Image courtesy of Canal Sur Television

As we intuited, the experience that exists in Pórtugos and other towns of Las Alpujarras is multisensory.

The impressive views from their balconies, the different sounds that provide the infinity of natural water sources, the smells of the flowers, the touch of its rustic architecture, and of course and the flavors of its delicacies and gastronomy are just a small example of what the experience represents.

We also appreciate the news and report that the Canal Sur team made during the visit. You can see the full video bellow.

The next

As we mentioned before, we have laid the first stone. Much remains to be done, but we have no doubt that Pórtugos will be an international benchmark in Accessible Tourism.

And this we believe for something fundamental: the human capital of the municipality is united and committed for the cause.

The beacon system is only the first action executed. Now it is necessary to undertake other actions that improve the physical accessibility of the points of interest, which will value the multisensory experience, etc.

Outbarriers will provide the digital help that is needed along with other initiatives that continue to encourage Pórtugos to achieve its objective.

Picture of Accessible Menu usage

Accessible Menu in action, example the other accessibility apps of Outbarriers ecosystem
Image courtesy of Canal Sur Television

From here we want to thank once again the Town Hall of Pórtugos and its entire team for trusting us. To La Ciudad Accesible, for proposing our solution and helping Pórtugos in this transformation in accessibility, to Canal Sur, for the great reports and of course, to the delegation that accompanied us, since they are the true protagonists of this initiative.

Thank you very much to all!

We keep working

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