Why start a business? Where did the idea for Volem Valencia come from?
It didn’t happen that I woke up one day and I thought “I want to start a company” No, everything takes a process …
It was 2011 when I finished my studies in Social Education … And a quite common question for everyone finishing university came to my mind. And now what? Most of us dream to find the perfect job, the one we studied for. It was my desire too, why deny it. While looking for a job, I decided to continue studying (I am one of those people who cannot be quiet).
Tourism has always been one of my great passions. I love traveling, exploring and knowing new places and learning about each place, each culture, its people … So I decided to attend the Tour Guide, Information and Assistance course and later the one dedicated to Travel Agency and Event Management .
Tourism and Social Education
Some people told me, “If tourism has nothing to do with Social Education, wouldn’t it have been better if you chose something related to it?” Well the answer to that question was the following: “Practically everything is related. Many times it is the attitude that allows you to find a connection. All people regardless of their abilities can travel. Tourism must be accessible for everyone ”. That was the first moment in which I began to reflect on the concept of accessible tourism and if really everyone can travel. They can, but is tourism really accessible?
In my opinion we should not talk directly about this concept, rather accessibility should be intrinsic . But is it? Many times we find that it does not. I know people in my environment with functional diversity or I have been myself in many similar situations in which we went to inaccessible hotels or guided tours that took us to places where we couldn’t enter.
Accessibility comes naturally
That is why I thought, why not do something to give my small contribution to accessibility ? As a result of these reflections and experiences, during these years I have been shaping Volem Valencia. I have been retrained myself, working as a social educator in different fields, I got my guide qualification and I have worked as an official guide in various places in Spain for travel agencies, Spanish schools in language stays, etc.
As time passed by and it became clearer to me that I wanted to start it, I have been learning from great professionals such as Predif and Cocemfe , among others. Attending conferences, congresses and inclusive tourism training courses, entrepreneurship programs such as the Valencia City Council Business Creation Itinerary or Invattur Emprende .
No one should feel left out
Today, Volem Valencia is already a reality . The objective is that no one feels left out, but that all people, whether for example a person with reduced mobility, a person with low vision or hearing impairment, travel with the same equal opportunities , taking into account the needs of each one. Guided tours and experiences where accessibility is intrinsic. In which all people can travel alone or with a group without worrying about anything . The important thing is that you enjoy it, we take care of the rest.
Undertaking is not easy, but it is a beautiful process where you can really enjoy the journey . With effort and dedication, things turn out and it is a satisfaction to be able to carry out a dream, a desire. That dream for me has been Volem Valencia. Bringing tourism closer to all people , our city, our Valencian Community is a treasure and I try to transmit that passion and enthusiasm in each guided tour that I conduct .
Ana Mª Soler Machirant, CEO Volem Valencia