We share many common interests and it was just easy to get their support in our health care project when considering adequate accommodation for our guests or trips in the surrounding.

One of Wellbe’s partners from the very start is the agency from Novigrad, Istria – Epoca360.

This week they came out with a new project which relates to helping tourists with hearing impairment or deafness, with the aim to help them enjoy their holiday time to a higher level. The main idea is to include a number of supporters – tourist providers, such as restaurants, shops, bars, museums, to take part in this project by adapting their services to deaf people communication, thus helping them to connect easier with them and between themselves, to share experience and information about a specific tourist destination or service.

The deaf or impaired hearing population uses the sign language as main communication. A language that is not much practiced in tourism business.

Each country has its own national sign language, but there is an international sign language, too, used by the majority of the deaf and hard of hearing people in international meetings, conferences and similar.
According to a report from the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH) in 2011, there are more than 50 million people with impaired hearing at EU countries.

An important point of the project is to make Novigrad, and even Istria, sensitive to deaf people challenges when they communicate with non-deaf people. In order to facilitate this, our partner plans to organize a number of workshops with other local tourist services providers. The idea is to get them understand the circumstances as well as to experience the practical and life situations which they may experience. Another positive effect of this project is that it will encourage the employment of deaf and hard of hearing people. The arrival of the deaf and hard of hearing tourists will create the need for job creation for people with the same conditions.

Another part of this project was to develop a mobile application which will enable better communication between deaf guests and tourist service providers, over a text to speech/ speech to text software. Secondly, it will help deaf people to get all the information related to a specific destination or services available in the sign language, as well as to share information, opinion and experiences of used services and visited destinations.

The project welcomes deaf people from all over the world, so that they can holiday together, meet other deaf people, make new friends and share their holiday memories. Providing deaf people with the opportunity to holiday in a group where everyone communicates in sign language. In the same way as hearing people’s accents vary in the different countries, so does the sign language. However, deaf people usually have no trouble in understanding each other. Similarly, when visiting foreign deaf clubs, deaf people can usually begin a conversation with each other in sign language even though their native languages are completely different. Deaf Culture is now a very rich and very strong ethic all over the world. This means deaf people can quickly become friends and learn about the Deaf Culture of the countries they visit.