‘Participating with a disability’ campaign launched at Horecava

Over two million people in the Netherlands have a disability, including people with limited or no hearing or sight, and those with a physical or mental disability. Like everyone else they all want to be able to work, shop and dine out, but this is not always possible due to physical and social obstacles. On 12 January, Martin van Rijn State Secretary for the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, launched the ‘Participating with a disability’ campaign during the Horecava trade exhibition in RAI Amsterdam (9 to 12 January).

The campaign is designed to create awareness of and insight into how people can enable people with disabilities to participate fully in society. Businesses present at Horecava were asked to view their food, beverage or hospitality company from the perspective of people with disabilities and make a difference to these potential guests via various simple adjustments. In addition, visitors and exhibitors were offered the chance to navigate an obstacle course in a wheelchair or move around blindfolded.

Exhibition manager Luuk Scholte gave the opening speech, stressing the importance of making food, beverage and hospitality companies more accessible to the disabled. He also expressed how pleased he was that the Horecava event was serving as a platform to launch the campaign. In addition, Scholte briefly explained that RAI Amsterdam is receiving the ITs (integral accessibility standard for the disabled) certification this quarter.

Over recent years the RAI has realised a multi-year plan focused on improving the accessibility of RAI Amsterdam for the disabled. This included changes to the toilets, lifts and parking spaces as well as improving the guide lines to and from the RAI plus facilities for the hearing and visually impaired. The State Secretary was happy to hear that the RAI is proactively involved in this area.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The campaign is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, implemented in the Netherlands in July 2016. The convention states that anyone, with or without disabilities, should be able to participate fully in society. Ratification of the convention was included in the coalition agreement of the current Dutch government.

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