A conference on accessible tourism the first in Nepal scheduled to be held on March 29, 2018, will seek to promote accessible holidays for the differently-abled and people with physical limitations who remain vastly underserved due to inaccessible travel and tourism facilities and services.
More than 200 delegates, including representatives from global communities of the disabled, will take part in the conference. The three-day meet will be held in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Accessible tourism is an ongoing endeavour to ensure that tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. There are over a billion people with disabilities worldwide. According to Lonely Planet, the world’s largest travel guide publisher, 50 percent of people with disabilities would travel more if suitable facilities were available to them wherever they travelled. Studies show that around 88 percent of people with a disability take a holiday each year. In the US, the Open Doors Organization estimates that $17.3 billion is spent by adults with disabilities on travel each year.
In Australia, around $8 billion a year is spent by travellers with disabilities. Around 12 percent of the European market is dedicated to people with disabilities. The market for accessible tourism is large and continues to grow.
According to the Division for Social Policy and Development under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, the impact of accessible tourism goes beyond the tourist beneficiaries to the wider society, engraining accessibility into the social and economic values of society.
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