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Promotion of accessible tourism helps boost Nepal economy: Report

File: Nepal’s first wheelchair accessible trail has been inaugurated in Pokhara of Kaski, on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Kathmandu, August 26

A study has argued the promotion of accessible tourism could help Nepal drive the sector’s recovery and boost the economy.

“Investing in disability-friendly infrastructure and services can help hoteliers and entrepreneurs tap the accessible tourism market in Nepal, a growing segment globally while driving economic growth and accelerating recovery,” says the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The study was conducted by the Society of Economic Journalists Nepal in collaboration with the National Federation of the Disabled, Nepal, which was financially and technically assisted by the IFC.

A Survey on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in Nepal’s Hotels covered 90 starred hotels in major cities. While 95 per cent of the participating hoteliers were aware of accessible tourism as a concept, they had not invested in necessary measures to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities.

The report mentioned with existing facilities limited to ramps and lifts in most hotels, only 17 per cent of the surveyed hotels put up signs to help visually-impaired guests and 74 per cent of the hotels did not have any Braille signage on door plaques and room directories, according to the survey.

Further, only about nine per cent of the hotels had staff who were trained in or had the basic knowledge of sign language while only 33 per cent of the participating hotels had extra wheelchairs for guests.

“Globally, the concept of accessible or inclusive tourism has gained ground in recent times. Accessibility at tourism destinations is key to responsible and sustainable tourism to ensure everyone can be a part of the tourism experience, regardless of physical limitations, disabilities, or age,” says Wendy Werner, the IFC country manager for Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. “Accessible tourism is not only a human right, but it also makes business sense.”

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