BENGALURU: In an attempt to gain insights into making tourism accessible to all, a team of 10 differently-abled individuals from different walks of life were picked from places like Bengaluru, Davanagere, Koppal and other places to participate in the Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit in Dubai held earlier this month.
The team, which was identified by Beyond Boundaries, in association with the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities department, also attended the 3rd edition of Accessibility Expo. They came across technological innovations to support and encourage the welfare of persons with disabilities.
“People with determination was the term used to address persons with disability. This is a positive approach,” said Ms. Poornima Anand, Director, Nine Lines.
She said the visit exposed them to ventures of different countries towards making their society all-inclusive.
According to statistics presented during the summit, 54 per cent of people with special access requirements avoid going to new places if they didn’t find it accessible, but 50 million people with special needs are looking forward to visiting new places.
“Accessibility is not only subjected to persons with disability. It includes senior citizens, pregnant women, etc. Around 40% of the total population is dependent on this accessible support,” said Mr Arun Kumar, founder, Voice of Needy.
He is now collaborating with the tourism department to make tourism sites accessible. He said, “We visited a few places in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and facilities are provided to persons with disabilities. In Grand Mosque, we could go till the end-point where others could also go to. To enable the movement of wheelchair-bound persons mats were put up.”
He said it would be encouraging if infrastructural facilities are provided according to the needs of persons with disability. Following his experience in Dubai, he felt the need for making tourism inclusive in the state and India, as it not only adheres to the principle of empowerment but also engages in revenue generation.
Ms. Anand highlighted the presence of police officials with sign language at important places. She said, “If we can also train officials, staff and cab drivers at the tourism places to respond to the needs of persons with disability, it could make the place all-inclusive, making travel hassle-free.”
She also called for conducting Accessibility Audit. “We are planning such an audit to map places that are accessible to disabled persons and also contribute towards making the ones that are not,” she said....