First, some background information on the creation of our Hidden City Tor-Tour:
accessibility is a fundamental problem for people with disabilities, especially if the areas declared accessible by able bodied society, from their point of view are not accessible.
People with disabilities have the right to and should have the same quality of life as their healthy peers. Being excluded from certain areas of life due to their disabilities is not acceptable.
Tourism is such a quality-of-life-improving but isolated area, which is of great importance for people with disabilities from a leisure, health and community-building point of view.
In recent tourism research, accessible tourism has played no, or hardly any role, which indicates the necessity to open up and do further research in this field. We prefer to talk about inclusive tourism, not barrier-free or accessible torusim, which term has a broader meaning, better showing what this branch of tourism is all about. Inclusive tourism is accessible to everyone, so the target group is much wider than people with disabilities. It is extended to everyone who needs a barrier-free environment, including the elderly, families with small children, or those with temporary injuries. Tourism is still problematic for these target groups in some countries, and it is not clear to accommodation providers, travel agencies and other tourism operators to involve them as potential consumers. Unfortunately, these countries also include Hungary.
With the support of the organization Strengthening Civil Organisations, the People First Association has developed in 2019 a new, attention-grabbing, accessible guided tour in Pécs, then introduced in 2021 as a regular tourist attraction, in cooperation with the Tourinform office in Pécs.
The aim of the tour is to sensitize and engage society. People with disabilities do not want to participate in tourism separately. They would like to participate in tourism together with their able-bodied peers.
Accessible/inclusive tourism is an excellent opportunity for the two groups to collaborate, which is also the most successful way of sensitizing.
We want to achieve implementation based on broad partnership, with the involvement of professional and non-governmental organizations, city government as well as the general public, which would support social inclusion, so important to us.
A barrier-free environment is not only good for people with disabilities!
It is essential to influence city marketing from the point of view of people with disabilities, and the innovation. In the guided tour, we take advantage of the markedly felt phenomenon that that tourists are looking for novelty and unusual experiences. They are also looking for a different approach exploring a city.
The Hidden City Tor-Tour shows the city through a different lens. It shows participants how people with disabilities can visit certain tourist attractions in the city and what kind of tricks they need to play at times in order to reach their destination. Participants can experience first hand what is possible and what is impossible for people with disabilities, what kind of compromises they need to make, what it means not to give up, as well as all the feelings that arise in the process.
All of this is intended with a touch of irony, though. We have no intention of communicating negativity, rather we would like to have some fun and create good impressions. We would like to put the focus on the ingenuity, creative and positive attitude, and the incredible will of people living with disabilities, as well as sensitise able-bodied participants and educate them about how they can be of help.
For maximum effect we will provide various equipment for adventurous participants, such as you can try out sightseeing in a wheelchair, we give you glasses that model visual impairment, we present hearing impairment with earplugs, you can use a white stick to touch curbs and guide lanes, you can walk with a guide dog.
We will offer a variety of tours with professional guides.
(in good weather): visiting the attractions of the historic downtown and viewing them through a different lens.
Route: Széchenyi square – Mosque – Cathedral square – Barbakán – Széchenyi square – Király street – (ILP Café)
Tours always end with a conversation, possibly in a café, since evaluation, getting to know the opinions of the participants is an essential element of social sensitization and involvement.
We have come up with several types of tours, we can adapt to target groups or requests, and we also have our own exciting versions.
1. Tourists visiting the city
2. Business and professional tourism (MICE), as a side event to conferences, as Pécs- Best practice, and for Corporate events.
3. Local residents. On the one hand through thematic tours organised monthly or quarterly, and on the other hand through less formal, playful tours for groups of school children, involving sensitizing games.
We consider it a great achievement that we were able to include the Hidden City Tor-Tour among the permanent thematic tours of Pécs, in partnership with the Irány Pécs/Tourinform office:
Permanent tourist offer
Our further aims include sensitising, informing, and getting the general public involved. An important goal is inclusion and the full participation of people with disabilities in society, as well as educating people regarding disabilities.
The active support of people with disabilities should play a role in the city marketing of Pécs, which would positively influence the city’s perception both domestically and internationally. We would like Pécs to become an exemplary city in its approach to people with disabilities, so we can be proud of our city in this respect as well.
Through the press and social media, we are hoping to gain wide publicity for the issue of inclusive tourism and the city.
In the long run, this project will provide employment opportunities in accessible tourism for local residents living with disabilities. Our tour guides are always our professionally prepared members with disabilities. Participants will acquire new skills, knowledge, experience as well as a “profession”. By making the project sustainable in the long run, participants are given the opportunity to become active members of society, at the same time we offer an innovative tourism service in Pécs.
Through this project we are building a network of partners, and fostering open-minded cooperation between non-governmental organizations, the city and tourism organizations.
Prices of tours:
Group discount if min. 10 people buy tickets at the same time:
The Hidden City Tor-Tour and our Barrier-free Pécs Database are closely linked. During the Hidden City walks, we show you some locations that we have already explored in the database. We talk about how the database works: we present accessible sites and make suggestions for improvement. We will also show you how much we have achieved with this, how many venues have become barrier-free that were not available before. The Hidden City without the Barrier-free Pécs Database would be just a pleasant walk. Thus, building on the database, we not only show what is not accessible, but also tell you what and how we do for accessibility.
A brief insight into a two-minute video coverage on our Youtube channel:
Come for a walk with us in Pécs! Barrier-free