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Accessible Tourism

Know Accessible Tourism

Accessible Tourism

The leisure activities that enrich our lives are mostly non accessible for disable persons. Those activities may be sports, travel, shopping and nights out. Similar cases are there for senior citizens and people with temporary disabilities. Thus to enrich them with these missing activities of their life, accessible tourism has been introduced. Accessible tourism deals with ways of making it easy for people with disability, senior citizens and people with temporary disability. It helps to enjoy tourism experiences to the fullest. These people may face special needs while travelling from one place to another.   Accessible Tourism helps to enrich the lives of all those people who are disable.

Though it’s a new concept, the demand for accessible tourism is growing with each passing year. According to the United Nations, around 10 percent of the world’s population is disabled. Globally there is an ever growing increase in the 65+ age group who benefit from accessible tourism. Targeted travelers of accessible tourism don’t travel alone; they are accompanied by their caretakers. Therefore making tourism accessible to the disable and the elderly people is an opportunity.  It helps to have more than one traveler at a time rather than an obligation to develop infrastructures. Moreover accessible tourism benefits to the whole tourism industry. Accessible tourism is a means for better economy and greater job opportunities. We can also empower people with disabilities while ensuring accessible tourism.

Problems

The major problem that is faced by a disable traveler while travelling is the lack of information.  That information includes accessible accommodation, accessibility in airport and wheelchair accessible local vehicle. They may lack reliable information about a specific site’s accessibility, accessible toilets, accessible restaurants and availability of wheelchairs, shower chairs and toilet raisers.

According to a Report by UN-ESCAP on Barrier Free Tourism, the major issues identified for making tourism accessible include: travel planning information, accessible transportation, accessible accommodation and the destination experience.

Accessible tourism trips should be planned in advance. They should have access to information about:accessibility of various venues and sites in the city they visit. They  knowledge of the local transport systems and their accessibility, and information about barrier-free features of the hotel. Access to experiences an of other disabled/elderly travelers is beneficial for them to be able to make travel decisions.

While we are talking about accessible tourism, the tour operators must be thinking about the scope of it. They are the businessmen and are running their business for money making. Hence, we need to take reference from outside world.

How many people with disabilities travel?

A study done based on a secondary data of the 35 million  Americans with disabilities by Durgin, Lindsay, and Hamilton in 1985 estimated that 13 percent of all travelers in the US had some form of disability. Another study was done by Woodside and Etzel in 1980 who undertook the first empirical study on disability and tourism that sought to discover the role of physical and mental conditions on tourism vacation behavior. The survey found that 10 percent of the 590 respondents to a household survey in the US State of South Carolina who had gone on a trip had a their party with a ‘physical or mental member of condition’.

They concluded that while the demographic characteristics of those travelling did not vary significantly from other households, that those with a person with a disability had lower level of travel than the general population. In 2004 the European Union countries’ OSSATE research estimated that tourists with disabilities contribute € 80 billion to the economy using gross demand estimates (Buhalis, Michopoulou, Eichhorn, & Miller, are 2005).

Research Done

In 2009, according to ENAT “overnight trips made by, or accompanied by, someone with a health condition or impairment contributed almost l billion pound to the English domestic visitor economy in the first 6 months of the year, accounting for 5.7 million trips in total. These latest figures highlight the importance of considering people with access needs, who in the year to June 2009 have accounted for 12 percent of all overnight domestic trips”

Accessible tourism is still all to rise from the ground level in of  Nepal. People know the idea, but are still unable to carry out. A group of person with disability, disability activists, researchers and tour operators are planning to do a daylong preliminary workshop for raising awareness about accessible tourism among the tour operators and the concerned stakeholders. If in   the government is supportive, they might be having one big program about accessibility on the World Tourism Day, September 27, this year. Furthermore, The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day celebration is “Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility”.

Text-Banita Khanal

Image- https://goo.gl/7wA75J

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