Accessible tourism is a right of all People of Determination-1639634662021
Dubai has taken the initiative to return accessible tourism to its pre-pandemic shape as it has been one of the first destinations to successfully open to international tourists. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As the travel and tourism sectors gradually return to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit will discuss the challenges facing the industry — especially in terms of tourists with disabilities.

The summit that works towards facilitating better tourism facilities for People of Determination will hold its second session under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, on January 12, 2022, at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai.

The summit, supported by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, is to be held under the title ‘Tourism for All’, to shed light on the challenges faced by about one billion people who need a variety of assistance for mobility, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). As residents, visitors or tourists in cities across the world, their requirements need to be strengthened through legislation, laws, infrastructure and services that meet their aspirations and fulfil their rights to discover the world comfortably.

Dubai’s vision

Dubai has taken the initiative to return accessible tourism to its former shape as it has been one of the first destinations to successfully open to international tourists as part of its vision to become one of the most preferred destinations for tourists with disabilities.

Shk Ahmed
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

“The UAE has placed the comfort and care of People of Determination as a core of its community’s wellbeing. In line with the vision of our leadership to be amongst the friendliest countries for People of Determination, we are pleased to host the second edition of the summit to showcase how we have made our cities more accessible and enjoyable for millions of tourists with disabilities,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

‘Sharing insights’

“The summit will give us a chance to meet like-minded leaders and experts from across the globe to share our insights, experiences and best practices and also help us further improve our cities and tourist facilities.”

The summit will highlight the requirements of tourists with disabilities during their movement from one place to another and the efforts being made to make the touristic places and facilities accessible to them, such as hotels, resorts, airports, transportation services, shopping centres, beaches, public parks and museums. He pointed that Dubai moved quickly to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and return to normality.

“We will continue to lead global efforts towards facilitating Accessible Tourism and collaborate with international partners to adopt more innovative and smart solutions that will enable all the citizens of the world to travel freely and live a life without barriers,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

‘Ensuring facilities and services’

Meanwhile, Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said that Dubai has delivered on its promise to enhance the lives of People of Determination, further underlining the city’s journey towards becoming the most preferred destination to visit, work and live in.

Helal Saeed Al Marri

“Collaborative efforts across the public and private sectors have prioritised the welfare of People of Determination, ensuring facilities and services that support their needs and enable them to enjoy the city’s diverse range of offerings and attractions and participate in its year-round calendar of events and festivals,” Al Marri said.

Adopting smart solutions

Dubai is moving at a steady pace to achieve its vision of becoming the friendliest destination for People of Determination, with the authorities working towards achieving the goal by implementing relevant legislation and adopting smart solutions to provide the best services for this segment of tourists as Dubai targets 25 million tourists by 2025.

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According to WHO, between 10 to 15 per cent of the world’s population needs assistance and the number of people who need assistive devices, ranging from wheelchairs to communication technologies, will double to two billion by 2050 as a result of ageing, health issues and other socio-economic factors. About 50 million people with Special Needs in the Middle East look forward to visiting cities and tourist destinations that provide them with appropriate services that meet their needs.