Accessible Tourism: Nepal’s gift for World Tourism Day 2016
If you are an avid tourist, trekker, adventurer or someone working in tourism industry with an interest in world affairs related to tourism, you might know that World Tourism Day 2016 is round the corner. How can Nepal, a premium touristic destination, not give anything on this occasion? This World Tourism Day, on September 28, as the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) suggests through “Tourism for all”, Nepal brings to you the notion of accessible tourism more prominently. From the land of Himalayas, you shall witness another step towards sustainable tourism this Tourism Day. Let’s find out more of it.
What is Accessible Tourism?
In simple words, Accessible Tourism is an attempt to help the benefits, advantages, resources and reach of tourism and its infrastructure to everyone irrespective of anything. In short, you can understand that tourism should be in reach of everyone, with special focus on people with disability. Under this theme, every individual and organization working in the tourism industry all around the world strive to create an environment that can address to the needs of all of us. No matter if you are travelling or staying at home due to disability, even temporary, or to ageing population or small children, you must be under the radar of benefit from tourism.
More precisely and in popular words, you can understand that, Accessible Tourism strives to enable people with special requirements to use the tourism products and services independently and with dignity throughout the world. This is basically another form of inclusive tourism.
Then how does Nepal Contributes to this movement?
As per the spirit the UNWTO that has come up with the theme of “Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility”, some Nepalese trekking companies and a US based institute have also generated a noble idea. You’ll be happy to know that The International Development institute, in partnership with the Soarway Foundation, Operation Namaste and Four Season Travel and Tours is taking a team of 19 participants in a campaign called “Wounded Heroes Trek of Hope to Nepal”. Under this campaign, 19 participants with some form of physical disability shall be taken to popular tourist and trekking destinations of Kathmandu, Nagarkot, Pokhara, Chitwan and to the Poonhill Trek. The team includes a team of medical professionals and a team of writers as well as journalists.
This campaign and trek is the only event of such kind to be recognized in Nepal and one of the three in the entire South-Asia. In a situation where around 15% of the world’s population and 5 lakhs of Nepalese population is estimated to have some form of disability, this campaign from Nepal presents to them a beacon of hope, moral boost encouragement to everyone who are striving to make accessible and inclusive tourism a reality.
From Nepal, a nation that suffered heavy blow due to earthquakes thereby pushing thousands to the unfortunate condition of disability, the message is loud and clear: let’s distribute everyone the benefits of tourism. As Scott H. DeLisi, former US ambassador to Nepal and the Executive Director of the Soarway Foundation which is one of the participant of the Wounded Heroes Trek of Hope to Nepal program, states this program aims to make Nepal an accessible tourism location. Besides contributing to the rebuilding of the economy, these campaigners are trying to create the future where people with disability live with confidence and dignity.
So from the nation full of Himalayas that has stood with pride and dignity since time unknown, you have another program that tries to help people with disability ignite a spark within themselves and allocate their deserved share of benefit from tourism. You would also feel proud to witness one such campaign that embraces the concept of inclusion and motivation in real sense. Let us also contribute for tourism in our own way!