National Federation of the Disabled – Nepal (NFDN) in partnership with CBM and in technical collaboration with four season Travel conducted a session on ‘Role of Aviation Sectors for the Promotion of Inclusive Tourism in Nepal’ on the 21st July. The event was participated by twenty two professionals from aviation sectors. The interaction session was valuable as aviation sector shared their policies and contribution for making tourism sector disability friendly. The key theme of the session was to discuss the existing protocols that different airlines endorse in the point view of disability. The significant global market for tourists with disabilities is not fully appreciated by Nepal’s tourism industry. It is a matter of concern for many travelers with disabilities. Although, demand for accessible tourism is growing in Nepal, current levels of accessible tourism accommodation, transport and attraction infrastructures are limited. The priorities should be given to accessible/inclusive tourism in Nepal to attract travelers with disabilities.
Mr. Raju Basnet, General Secretary of NFDN emphasized on the issues faced by Persons with Disabilities in the existing environment and highlighted the need of disabled friendly protocols. The session was a powerful interaction as quoted by Mr. Pankaj Pradhananga, Director of Four Season Travel who further requested the participants to collectively initiate the concept so that no person is left out to exercise their right to travel. Similarly, participants from Buddha Air, Summit Air, Simirik Air, Surya Air, Qatar Air and Turkish Airline shared their existing company policies and current issues for Persons with Disabilities.
Mr. Ratna Rai of Buddha Air, highlighted on the SOPs of Buddha Air that strive to facilitate accessible tourism. Similarly, Mr. Arpan Dawadi, Airport manager of Qatar Air shared how Qatar Air is ensuring its passengers to avail the access to ambu-lift in Kathmandu Airport. Mr. Abdullah Kececi, Country Manager of Turkish renewed the commitment to work for PWDs highlighting the support to Engage Wheelchair Basketball tournament for second consecutive year.
By some means, the facilities as mentioned by the participants orient for Persons with Disabilities as in provision of ambu-lift, accessible toilet, lift system and tactile in Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Upon sharing of the issues faced by PWDs during travel, the participants realized the importance of making the tourism industry inclusive to benefit the people with their rights to travel and further added that they were interested to collaborate with the companies and make socially inclined effort to make the industry inclusive and accessible.
Nepal’s effort for promoting accessible tourism has seen a renewed ray of hope with domestic and international airlines coming forward to join the initiatives.