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India, amid global efforts to create a universally accessible and inclusive tourism culture, is working on developing ‘accessible tourism guidelines for India’ to help both public and private sectors develop their resources and services through the ‘Tourism for All’ concept. The draft of the guidelines – a guidebook to create the best practices and acceptable standards for accessible tourism—has been finalized by engaging the Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee (IIT) as the knowledge partner. In the world’s second most populous country, over 2.2 percent of the population has some form of disability as per its National Statistics Office report of 2019. In 2021,  at all Indian levels, 36 of the total disabled persons are workers. The guidebook contains ten chapters with eight sections spelling out the need for guiding principles for barrier-free tourist-friendly services and infrastructure in India and various interventions such as a universal design approach, information accessibility, inclusive mobility and easily reached accommodations required to make India future-ready and thrive on business opportunities in tourism-based ventures. The draft reads: “Alongside the beauty of this diversity and rich cultural heritage, India has continued to embrace universality through promoting its tourism amidst other evolutionary developments in the nation. However, in the spirit of progress, India needs to push further to attain high levels of inclusion and then emerge as an accessible tourist destination of the world.” Tgovernment guidelines would help spread awareness and ensure travellers, hotels and government agencies make adequate arrangements for people in need.  “The government-recommended guidelines will ensure basic services like wheelchairs. I have seen that a prominent five-star hotel in Delhi couldn’t provide a wheelchair to a guest. The government must also find ways for strict adherence to the guidelines,” says PP Khanna, President of the Association of Domestic Tours Operators of India (ADTOI).

Source- New Indian Express

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