Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group
Airports and airlines are among the top important service facilities, with the latter among the most-widely used means of transportation by travellers, including People with Special Needs, who travel the world for work, tourism, medication or other important purposes. Hence, airports and carriers have to grapple with few challenges from this segment of travellers who look to overcome them by aspiring for the full implementation of ICAO, IATA and ACI recommendations related to the rights of Passengers with Disabilities and the enhancement of the quality of services provided by airports and carriers that are becoming more crowded day by day as a result of growing demand on air travel.
The case assumes strong and greater importance, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that 10-15 percent of the world population need some kind of assistance; something which may affect their mobility and free movement. According to WHO reports, the number of People of Determination is expected to double from one billion at present to two billion by 2050 as a result of improved life expectancy on the one hand, and wars, underdevelopment, deterioration of healthcare services, the spread of diseases, poverty or illiteracy in some countries of the world on the other.
Calculated based on the lower ratio estimated by WHO, which says that People with Special Needs represent 10% of the world population, the number of tourists with Special Needs may reach 120 million out of 1.2 billion tourists who travelled the world in 2018. This is a huge figure that requires reconsideration in terms of providing services catering to the needs and aspirations of this important segment of society, and their rights according to international laws and customs.
In a brainstorming session, a select group of People of Determination in the UAE discussed the major challenges they face in some airports and carriers while travelling around the world, whether on duty as professional experts or athletes, or for tourism, medication or other life activities.
The panellists commended the excellent quality of services provided by airports and airlines in the UAE for Passengers with Disabilities. At the same time, they expressed their full confidence that the relevant authorities will not rest on their laurels with respect to the great achievements made in this domain by virtue of dedicated exhaustive and relentless efforts, but will continue enhancing the experience of Passengers with Disabilities through devising and implementing phased development plans that are bound to ensure the continual upgrade of services, especially smart ones, and eventually make travel an unforgettable experience for People of Determination.
At the end of the session, the panellists appealed to airport and airline operators across the world to emulate the experience of the UAE by developing plans to make airport facilities and carriers friendlier to Passengers with Disabilities, and providing adequate services in accordance with international legislation. They also called for continually improving the experience of this segment of passengers as a natural right, through the adoption of technologies and smart solutions in airports and on-board aircrafts and the provision of qualified and efficient human resources capable of professionally dealing with the different motor, visual, hearing and sensory disabilities, among others.
This brainstorming session comes in line with Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit which will be held under the patronage of His Highness 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 summit will be organised by Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management and will be held from 5 – 6 November at the Hall 5 of Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre
17 Recommendations to Improve Travel Experience
The brainstorming session was attended by Siham Al-Rashidi, an employee at the Dubai Land Department and member of the Asian Paralympic Council, Raisa Al Falasi, an employee in the Prime Minister’s Office (both suffering motor disability), and Aisha Al Hosani, an employee of the Dubai Police General Headquarters, and is suffering hearing impairment. The session resulted in a set of necessary recommendations that will contribute to strengthening the global travel and tourism industry and progressing on the goal of making airports and air carriers friendlier to millions of travellers around the world.
The main recommendations are: