Tourism destinations are in an increasingly globalized and challenging market . The new standards of tourism are increasingly moving towards issues such as quality , sustainability , the richness of culture and accessibility . Social sustainability of this industry is looking towards alleviating poverty , promotion of human rights , preservation of culture and maintaining the richness of the environmental health. Another very important issue that is being addressed is the rights of the handicapped ie Accessible Tourism. It is considered today that it is every human’s right to get a traveling experience irrespective of their disability. People with a physical or mental disability might find overseas traveling as very challenging and difficult. But today, the travel and tourism businesses are investing a large sum in making this possible with a view of bringing equality in this world. Recognition is been given to this fact that irrespective of the disability, these humans have similar desires like any other normal person. Recognition is being given to their rights as a member of the modern society to travel, explore and access everything likens any other human being.
The aforesaid brings about the concept of accessible tourism. When a traveler plans his travel, he makes an itinerary comprising of the activities and experiences he wants to undertake during his excursion. And each tourist destination and their industry elaborate on such wants and make all possible ways of experiencing the surroundings of the tourist sites. It ranges from a variety of activities from theme parks to trek experiences to a number of adventure sports. The museums and other enigmatic spots also add on to the itinerary. The same is not possible for the specially abled as their travel is modified to suit their disability making it possible for them to have the best experience along with addressing their needs.
Travel is therapy for the mind and food for the soul. All of us at least once a year, pack our bags and run towards our favorite destinations for a fun-filled holiday with family and friends. We love to take a walk in the wilderness, explore the place on foot, swim in magnificent blue waters, run around amidst luscious green lands, trek on hilly areas, do mountain climbing, paragliding and many such wonderful and adventurous activities. Of course, all these activities require us to be in perfect physical condition with our limbs intact this is where Accessible Tourism Comes in action.
But have you ever wondered about the handicapped people? What about their travel dreams? Don’t they feel like going in the wild, exploring a city, swimming, paragliding and doing all the wonderful activities at least once a year? It is out of sheer bad luck that someone is handicapped. Even if their families are supportive enough, they feel they would be a burden on others. They have to be pushed everywhere in a wheelchair, waited upon while they slowly reach the others and depend on others for their basic needs. However, patient their family is, the presence of a handicapped person does mar their holiday spirits.
Handicapped people need emotional support to travel along with the family. The family members and the fellow tourists should show patience and empathy towards handicapped members and not make them feel or depressed. Such people are already burdened with their physical misgivings. The others should be supportive and patient with them and have fun with them to boost their morale.
Devoted and dedicated to this noble cause of Accessible Tourism, our NGO welcomes any suggestion or volunteers from responsible tourism people of the society.
Accessible tourism is a form of tourism that involves collaborative processes between stakeholders that enable 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 environments.
Despite the potential of Accessible Tourism, there is a general discouragement for this category of people to travel as it can be cumbersome and there does not remain many things to do for them. The data available in this area of the industry is yet to be developed. The needs and desires of such tourists are yet to be concretely deciphered. Tourism industries are forming research development teams to bring in enough literature to formulate itineraries keeping in mind the needs and desires of this group. A broader conception is required to be developed for addressing the desires and needs of these people. The tourism activity referred is not only confined to physical enjoyment but also a means to ensure a better quality of life for all people. What we need to understand is the constraints specially and then develop a program to suit their schedule and comfort zone.
Such tourism is related more to social equality and ethics. One major challenge this industry is facing is the lack of global implementation, though many developing countries have invested in this area. We need to formulate more literature through extensive research, surveys and testimonials to understand and explore this industry better in order to ensure that accessible tourism no more only remains in theory but is practically implemented as well.