Holding a meeting without barriers in Berlin
A quick trip through the city to the convention, spontaneously showing up at the site event or at the interactive incentive with colleagues – this type of spontaneity and flexibility poses a challenge to almost seven million people in Germany and some 50 million people in Europe.
This includes wheelchair users, people with hearing and visual impairments, deaf or blind people or people with cognitive impairments. Steps or a lack of acoustic signals represent potentially insurmountable barriers for some of these people. No matter whether this is upon arrival, en route, in the hotel or during an event. This makes it all the more important to raise awareness among events organisers, to ensure that meetings and conventions are free from barriers and accessible to everyone in the future. Berlin, as the leading meeting city in Europe, is setting a good example: Accesible Berlin.
Berlin opens its doors to everyone
The topic of accessibility is growing in importance for the events industry. The recent awarding of the Special Olympics 2023 to Berlin is testimony to the fact that the convention city is on the right path towards an accessible event landscape. This is the first time that Germany will host the world’s largest inclusive sports event for participants with mental and multiple disabilities. In four years, it will come to Berlin with approx. 7,000 athletes, over 3,000 support staff and 12,000 accompanying family members from 180 nations. The reason: in addition to the relevant sports facilities such as Olympiastadion, Berlin now has several locations and event venues which enable the inclusion of people with physical or mental disabilities Many of the top museums and tourist attractions including over 70 locations and more than 60 partner hotels in the Meeting Guide Berlin, are already accessible to wheelchair users and other people with disabilities.
Just how important the topic is for events planners and event partners and which doors are opened by an accessible conference landscape in the MICE industry, is also showcased by a research project run by the three project partners BestCities Global Alliance (BestCities), GainingEdge and Rehabilitation International (RI Global).
Greater awareness for more inclusion
The objective of the study is to raise awareness among organisations, event organisers and event partners about what can be done to remove barriers in the meeting and convention world for participants with disabilities and restricted mobility.
The "BestCities", including Berlin, participated in the project as a focus group of leading destinations for meetings and business events. The results of the Universal Accessibility in Meetings research study describe how convention destinations across the globe can harness innovative solutions and adaptations to satisfy the needs of people with disabilities, and provides specific tips to shape the events industry in a more integrative way. Berlin is utilising a variety of measures to exhibit how we can promote the inclusion of people with disabilities.
Berlin without barriers
That is why the accessBerlin app is an important travel tool for all visitors with special requirements. Berlin is also leading by example in the hotel industry: Berlin's wheelchair accessible hotels are certified within the scope of the nation-wide Travel for Everyone certification system. The annual presentation of the Berlin Inclusion Prize to companies which train or employ severely disabled people, the mobility law, the new toilet concept, the Accessible City round table discussion group, the 2019-2023 local transport plan, the acoustic passenger information pilot project, as well as the recently published guideline on promoting inclusive taxis, are other examples of decisive steps on the road towards a Berlin without barriers.
Only a few weeks ago, an additional milestone for inclusion and accessibility in the Berlin events industry was set: at the annual meeting of the leading international association for inclusion and access – Rehabilitation International – in Berlin, the association and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This highlights both sides' commitment to increased cooperation in the future ( see information box for additional info).
Do you need support with event planning?
We will help you with planning an accessible event – no matter whether it is a conference, meeting, incentive or convention. If you want to find a suitable hotel, the right service partner or an unusual event location in Berlin, take a look now at the Meeting Guide Berlin. Please write to us at: convention@visitBerlin.de. We will be glad to support you.
- The association Rehabilitation International (RI) is the ,leading international association for inclusion and access for people with disabilities
- In 2016, the association convened the World Congress of Rehabilitation, with 1,000 participants in the BestCities city of Edinburgh
- In 2020, the world convention will take place in Aarhus (Denmark)
- The Berlin Convention Office has been in close contact with the association since 2013
- Some of the German members in the association include: the federal working group for rehabilitation (BAR) as well as the DGUV (German Statutory Accident Insurance)