In a first such attempt, a conference on accessible tourism has been scheduled to be held in Kathmandu and Pokhara of Nepal on March 29, 2018.
The conference aims to promote accessible tourism for the differently-abled and people with physical challenges who are facing challenges with regard to inaccessible travel,tourism facilities and services.
The three-day event is expected to see more than 200 delegates including representatives from various global communities of the disabled groups.
This conference is part of global efforts to ensure tourist destinations, and related products and services to all sections of the people.
“The objective of the conference is to spread the message that Nepal is accessible to all people, regardless of physical limitations, disabilities or age,” says Deepak Raj Joshi, Chief Executive Officer of the Nepal Tourism Board.
US-based International Development Institute is organizing the conference.
According to Joshi, accessible tourism is a huge market that has remained untapped and Nepal needs proper infrastructure to tap the full potential of the accessible tourism market.
“It’s difficult to find a place in Nepal for differently-abled people as Nepal tourism industry has not realized the potential. However, things can be changed if the potential of accessible tourism is realized,” says double amputee Hari Budha Magar, one of the key speakers at the conference.
Stating that Nepal has players who can afford accessibility, Joshi said, “We are also inviting the mayors of key metropolitan cities and municipalities for the conference.”
While there are over a billion with disabilities globally, 88 percent of people with a disability go on for a holiday every year and 50 percent travel more if suitable facilities were made available to them at their travel destinations.
Country-wise, the US accessible tourism market is measured at USD 17.3 billion in terms of annual spending, while it is USD 8 billion per year in Australia, and 12 percent of the European market is dedicated to people with disabilities.
According to the Division for Social Policy and Development under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, the accessible tourism industry, besides benefiting tourism, holds a great potential and can leave a larger impact on the social and economic values of the society.