Dubai will host the inaugural ‘Accessible Tourism International Summit’ on 5th-6th November at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The summit is held under the patronage of H.H. 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.
The first edition of the summit is themed, ‘Making All Cities Friendly for Tourists with Disabilities’, and aims to highlight the challenges faced by about one billion people with disabilities during their travel as tourists to cities around the world.
The summit, supported by the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing as Destination, will see discussions on the necessity to strengthen legislation, laws, infrastructure, and services catering to the needs of tourists with disabilities and their aspirations to explore the world with ease.
It represents an additional initiative with which the UAE is moving forward on its course to become among the best in the world in providing persons with disabilities with the services and facilities required to empower and provide opportunities for self-dependence, to serve their communities, and explore diverse their capacities.
“The UAE has done a great deal on its course to achieve its vision of becoming a friendly country for people with disabilities. This summit falls within this framework and aims to share insights, experiences and best practices and translate these into a concrete practice bound to enable over one billion people to reach their destination with ease,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed.
The summit, he said, aims to highlight the needs of this segment during their travel and commuting from one place to another. Sheikh Ahmed continued, “Therefore, it seeks to respond to these needs by making the places and facilities used or visited by tourists, including hotels, resorts, airports, transport and communication means, shopping malls, beaches, parks and museums accessible and friendly to the requirements of people with disabilities.”
The initiative comes as the World Health Organisation, WHO, estimates that the number of people needing assistive devices ranging from wheelchairs to communication technologies will double to two billion by 2050.
According to AccessAbilities Expo, a whopping 50 million persons with disabilities in the Middle East are looking to visit cities and tourist destinations that provide appropriate services to them as per their needs.
The Emirate of Dubai is currently undertaking many projects and initiatives to achieve its vision of becoming a friendly city for persons with disabilities by 2020. Involving all concerned entities within the emirate, it seeks to attain this goal by implementing relevant laws and regulations in place and adapting smart solutions to provide the best services for individuals with special needs, especially with Dubai’s objective to attract 25 million tourists in 2025.