A new initiative is set to make Greece’s beaches – arguably the country’s most famous asset – more accessible for people with mobility problems. The initiative is part of the Tsipras government’s social policy program to promote equal rights to people with disability.

According to the announcement, the government aims to build infrastructure and install all appropriate equipment to a significant number of beaches within 2018, so that they are ready by the beginning of the next tourist season to welcome anyone who is excluded from beaches at the moment – notably the disabled, the elderly, pregnant women and people recovering from injuries and illness.

The program is aiming to improve the quality of life of people living with disability in Greece, but also to attract more tourists to the country, making it a preferred destination for people with disability.

The project is an initiative emanating from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ social policy office, which mobilised the economy and development ministry to draw up a plan to install infrastructure, giving independent wheelchair access to the sea and related facilities.

The infrastructure will consist of non-permanent assembled mechanisms, as well as specially designed changing cabins, portable toilets, ramps, parking areas and areas providing shade and protection.

The policy was announced by the Ministry of Economy and Development, which is responsible for implementing the plan, in accordance with the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (which was recently made a law of the state), but also with the EU ‘Europe 2020’ strategy for growth and employment, which emphasises sustainable and inclusive policies.

On Monday, the ministry will invite offers, with a budget set at €5 million in total, with a maximum of €60,000 per facility. Among potential beneficiaries are municipalities on the coast, which can each bid for up to four, and the Public Properties Company.