In order to make beaches accessible to people with reduced mobility, Greece has implemented a program that allows hundreds of beaches to offer free access to the sea to people with disabilities or mobility problems.
Nearly 150 beaches have already been equipped with the Greek-designed Seatrac system, with more to follow soon.
The Seatrac system allows a person in a wheelchair to lower their seat to water level by deploying a retractable track. This allows the person to access the water through the newly constructed path, which is also protected by guardrails.
Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told a press conference that 287 beaches would introduce essential facilities such as parking lots, sanitary and changing facilities, ramps and lanes for sunbeds, as well as bars for people with different abilities.
Equal access to the sea is an inalienable human right, he added. The Department of Tourism also believes that providing accessible beaches to a diverse population will stimulate the local economy. In addition to people with different abilities, it will also attract the elderly, people with temporary injuries and even pregnant women.
The ministry has also created a website dedicated to informing and educating the public about the latest developments, allowing more and more people to come together to enjoy the country’s turquoise waters. According to the government, access to beaches will also allow people with reduced mobility to enjoy water activities such as swimming, which will be beneficial for both mental and physical health.
Historically, Greece has always been a difficult place for people with limited mobility. However, since the 2004Athens Olympics, efforts have been made to make events and venues more accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, in April, the Ministry of Culture in Greece also granted free access to museums and archaeological sites to holders of disability cards, in an effort to increase equality in culture and work in the country.