Tourism for All, Promoting Universal Accessibility
he Tourism Council of Bhutan celebrated the World Tourism Day on 27th September in the capital. The World Tourism Day is an annual event celebrated worldwide with different theme every year and this year’s theme is “Tourism for All, Promoting Universal Accessibility”. The day is celebrated to highlight and create awareness on tourism’s contribution to social, cultural, environmental, political and economic values. It is also to highlight the opportunities that the tourism sector provides in empowering societies across the globe. The United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) leads the celebration.
A seminar on the theme “Tourism for All, Promoting universal accessibility was held at Terma Linca Resort organized by the Tourism Council of Bhutan coinciding with the day.
In a message read out at the workshop UNWTO Secretary General Tableb Rifai said that tourism has experienced a revolution in the past 50 years. In 1950 there were 25 million international tourists; today there are around 1.2 billion people travelling the world. Travelling has become a huge part of many lives.
“When travelling, we come across new people, new sights, and new ideas. Often our perception of the world changes as we see more of it. However, we must not forget that for many, travelling can be quite a difficult process.” Tableb Rifai added.
The Secretary General further said that with about 15% of the world’s population is estimated to live with some form of disability. That is 1 billion people around the world who may be unable to enjoy the privilege of knowing other cultures, experience nature at its fullest and experience the thrill of embarking on a journey to explore new sights.
To observe the day, TCB organized a workshop on understanding challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing physical environment, transportation, information, communication and other services including both public resources and infrastructure in Bhutan. Keeping their challenges in mind, Tourism Council of Bhutan had pledged and would plan and promote infrastructures, which are accessible for all in our future plans.
Accessible Tourism for all is about the creation of environments that can cater for the needs of all of us, whether we are travelling or staying at home. May that be due to a disability, even temporary, families with small children, or the ageing population, at some point in our lives, sooner or later, we all benefit of universal accessibility in tourism.
The process among stakeholders that enables people with access requirements, including mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive dimensions of access, to function independently and with equity and dignity through the delivery of universally designed tourism products, services and environment.
Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, sensory impairments or others who may have problems accessing tourism products and services with temporary disabilities.
The main objective is to understanding challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing physical environment, transportation, information, communication and other services (public resources and infrastructure) in Bhutan.
The main outcome of the workshop was to create awareness on the challenges faced by people with disabilities and to take appropriate measures in order to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to physical environment, transportation, information and communications and other services.
Some of the resources person from Ability Bhutan society, Wheelchair Users Association, Disable Person Association of Bhutan and Tourism Council of Bhutan shared their experiences during the workshop.