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The French city of Lyon, where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet, with its history dating 43 BC, is dynamic, sophisticated and accessible.  The textile industry is still important to the city’s economy, alongside metallurgy, banking, petrochemicals, printing—and tourism. It has become an increasingly popular destination for short breaks, holidays and business events. It has exemplified the remarkable outcomes of cooperative engagement among stakeholders, fostering a prosperous and sustainable tourism model.  The city is accessible in every sense of the word. Since 2021, free monthly public transport passes on the TCL network have been offered to welfare recipients, asylum seekers, and others who are disadvantaged. The accessibility of the public transport system for people with disabilities was also key to Lyon’s Access City Award in 2018. The Access City Award is open to European cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, and accessibility is assessed in four key areas: the built environment and public spaces, transportation and related infrastructure, information and communication including new technologies, and public facilities and services.


Lyon was rewarded for “its inclusive and universal accessibility”. Judges praised its 100 percent accessible public buses and its efforts to ensure that everyone can access culture, thanks to accessible equipment in libraries (reading machines, audiobook readers and magnifying screens). They were also impressed with the city’s digital tools for people with disabilities, and disability employment figures. The 2018 Access City Award was one of the attributes that led the European Commission to bestow the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 title on Lyon. It also applauded Lyon’s ‘Lyon, Fair and Sustainable City’ quality label, which aims to promote the local economy and recognize sustainable environmental and social practices. Other initiatives singled out for praise included seeking to balance visitor expectations and respect for residents. The emphasis is on allowing access while maintaining heritage. In 2021, Lyon ranked seventh in the world and first in France in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS), with a score of 80 per cent. It also won the GDS Most Improved Award, gaining 34 percentage points in a year. Last year, the city improved its score further, achieving 83%, although fiercer competition meant it only ranked 11th. Regardless of rankings, Lyon’s relentless progress toward sustainability continues unabated. 37 hotels in and around Lyon are certified accessible by a holiday booking platform for disabled travelers.


Source – Sustain Europe

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