Sustainable Cities and Equitable Tourism

Sustainable cities play a crucial role in creating an environment that supports and empowers persons visiting cities as tourists.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG) focuses on making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. It recognizes the importance of ensuring equal access to urban infrastructures, public spaces, and services for all individuals, including those with disabilities. Equitable tourism addresses fairness in access and usability for current and future generations and between the North and South of the world and promotes three key dimensions of sustainability: social, environmental and economic for the good of the people and the planet.

Inclusive urban planning and design are essential components of sustainable cities for a sustainable and equitably accessible tourism. Accessible and usable as well as affordable transportation systems, sidewalks, and buildings enable persons with disabilities and anyone with a temporary disability ( broken leg, pregnant woman, age, obesity, allergy, parents with small children) or permanent reduced mobility (physical, sensorial, cognitive or invisible) to move around independently.

For example, cities can implement wheelchair ramps, tactile paving, and audio signals at pedestrian crossings to ensure accessibility for individuals with mobility or visual impairments. Moreover, sustainable cities prioritize the provision of inclusive services and facilities and are equipped with assistive technologies. Data reveals the significance of creating disability-inclusive cities.

According to the World Health Organization over one billion persons, (approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population) have a disability and only few cities across the globe currently meet accessibility standards. This data underscores the urgent need for sustainable tourism to include persons with disabilities traveling for business or for tourism.

In conclusion, sustainable cities by ensuring accessibility, usability and affordability, providing inclusive services, and implementing thoughtful urban planning, can create environments that foster equity and the right of all to enjoy and benefit of tourism without physical or cultural barriers.

Written by:
Dr. Daniela Bas
President and Founder
SustainABILITY Advisory Boutique (SAB)