Covering airports, airlines, hotels, shopping centres, parks, coasts, museums, and other tourist attractions
58 recommendations to enable one billion People of Determination to enjoy their travel easily and build a friendlier world
€142 billion in missed opportunities as PwDs show reluctance to travel without appropriate services and facilities
The 2nd edition of the Dubai Accessible Travel & Tourism International Summit (DATTIS), Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group and Summit Patron, has come out with 58 key recommendations to deal with the main challenges faced by People of Determination or People with Disabilities (PwDs) in the areas of mobility, hospitality and travel worldwide.
The People of Determination, who participated in the Summit, called on international organisations, government bodies and public and private sectors to enact laws and regulations to remove barriers to enable more than one billion People of Determination – according to the statistics of the World Health Organization – to enjoy their rights to travel, move easily and enjoy their lives as one of their acquired rights according to relevant international laws.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed underlined the UAE’s tireless efforts towards becoming one of the best and most friendly destinations in the world for People of Determination. He called on the authorities in the public and private sectors to strengthen cooperation to ensure provisions of Accessible Tourism are met, and the best possible experience is guaranteed for all.
The recommendations are not limited to airports, airlines and hotels but can also be extended to cover shopping centres, public parks, museums, restaurants, and various other tourist centres and facilities serving tourists of determination.
During the Summit, international experts indicated that the volume of missed opportunities for the global economy and tourism sector amounted to approximately €142 billion annually. This is the result of the reluctance of tens of millions of People of Determination to travel due to the lack of services and facilities that meet their needs, right from the moment they think about travelling to their arrival at the destinations and their return to their country.
They also highlighted the millions of new job opportunities the Accessible Tourism sector can pump in the world economy, hence strongly contributing to support the efforts of countries interested in combatting their unemployment problems.
“It all takes a decision by the public and private sectors to make destinations friendly to People of Determination and develop an action plan. This plan must be implemented in stages to move forward towards making destinations friendly for People of Determination and reap the fruits of this decision, both economically and socially,” said Ghassan Suleiman Amhaz, the General-Coordinator of the Summit and Managing Director of Nadd Al Shiba PR and Event Management, organiser of DATTIS.
- Designing a policy document – similar to a passport- to include technical details of the equipment used by People with Disabilities for easy identification and to provide help if needed, especially for those suffering from mobility disabilities
- Providing toilets with special facilities to suit their needs
- Providing sufficient cars to transport People of Determination from the airport to hotels or intended tourist destinations
- Providing professional staff who are skilled in dealing with People of Determination with their various needs at check-in points, security checks, passport controls, and other points inside the airport
- To deal with travellers with disabilities as normal passengers
- Providing sign language guiding panels (video displays) within the airports to help travellers of determination and guide them to the right area to complete the travel procedures
- Providing sign language interpreters at airports to assist passengers with hearing impairments
- Providing a special vehicle for check-in for passengers with mobility disabilities to enable them to enjoy the airport experience like any normal passenger, and to allow them to roam the duty-free shops and dine in airport restaurants and cafes instead of placing them in a special lounge while waiting for their flights
- Providing special screening devices for People of Determination, especially those with mobility disabilities, to avoid embarrassment and inconvenience that the traveller may be exposed to at some airports when he is removed from the wheelchair for security checks
- Providing a special mechanism that allows travellers of determination to claim their luggage quickly to avoid waiting for a long time at the baggage claim area
- Providing parking spaces close to the arrivals area for People of Determination
- Providing an automated system to open the doors of toilets at airports for ease of entry, especially for travellers with mobility disabilities, because the doors in some airports are heavy and require physical strength to open them
- To provide a special page for People of Determination at the airline’s online booking site to facilitate the booking process and commitment from the airline to offer the on-board services they have requested
- To train air carrier crews on how to deal with Passengers of Determination and grant them their due rights as stipulated by the regulations of international travel and transport organisations
- To provide a sufficient number of wheelchairs on-board aircraft for loading and offloading Passengers of Determination as carriers usually provide one wheelchair only, while there may be more than one passenger with a motor disability on the same flight
- To provide dedicated aircraft lavatories that are suitable to passengers with motor disabilities in terms of space and the ability to move and rotate
- To provide sign-language as part of the delivery of safety instructions during flights
- To provide aircraft with tactile flooring and white sticks dedicated to passengers with visual impairments, in addition to providing the Braille language as part of instructions on display screens on-board aircraft
- To provide programmes and series with sign-language translation to enable passengers with hearing impairments to enjoy their flights.
- To provide iPads set-up to serve passengers with hearing impairments to facilitate their service by flight attendants
- Allocating seats with foldable armrests to enable People of Determination to move freely
- To have ramps available from car parks to the entrances of the hotels
- For all hotel entrances and exits to have automatic doors
- Provision of sufficient rooms for People of Determination, especially during the international events and competitions in which hundreds of People of Determination participate
- Provision of wider entrances to the bathrooms inside the rooms
- To provide bidets in the bathrooms
- To make the shower area wide enough for People of Determination, especially wheelchair users as the bathtubs take too much space in the bathroom and the glass that covers the shower area makes it difficult for them to enter and use the bathroom
- To have buffet tables lower for people with motor disabilities as the height of the tables is not appropriate for them
- To provide an adequate number of accessible and adaptive private cars to transport People of Determination in wheelchairs
- Provision of hotel reception counters at accessible heights
- To provide adequate shower benches/chairs
- There is a lack of adequate services that suit the needs of guests with hearing impairment, starting from making enquiries, booking and requesting assistance and more information such as pricing, room size and features, therefore audio services or if unavailable, visual or sign language assistance should be available for them
- Provision of adequate staff familiar with sign language, especially in the reception area
- Provision of a system for guests with hearing impairments who cannot hear knocking on the door by the housekeeping, to avoid disturbing and embarrassing the guests
- Provision of a system, such as warning lights, to alert guests with hearing impairment in the event of an emergency like fire as they cannot hear the alarm bell
- Children diagnosed with ASD face many difficulties during travel, as the nervous system works to facilitate various sensory stimuli, causing pressure and sensory effort and resulting in unwanted behaviours. It is possible to work on rehabilitating and facilitating the journey for these children by following some procedures, in addition to providing some simple tools to act as pressure stimuli to help children with ASD calm down, and gain increased attention and focus; thus, reducing the possibility of any unwanted behaviour.
- Enabling express transit services, streamlining of procedures and reduction of waiting period
- Providing a chip to track children and help avoid losing them inside the airports
- When notified of the presence of an ASD child, to place a sign placed on the plane board to facilitate procedures for the child and accompanying family
- Providing a special corner within the airport corridors featuring special lights and acting as a quiet corner for children with ASD
- Providing a Sensory POD to be used at departure gates
- To choose less-disturbing seats for children with ASD: e.g., away from the kitchen or bathroom area, or close to the aircraft engine
- To provide a special kit containing a set of simple tools to help reduce repetitive movements and increase attention and focus. The special kit may contain Fidget tools, Rubber bands and special headphones in case there is pressure or loud sounds
- Giving them priority in all airport procedures and processes to keep them calm and avoid any disturbances usually associated with being in overcrowded areas
- Giving them priority to board the plane before all other passengers, or to board as the last passengers depending on the preference of their parents or companions
- Training airport and aircraft crews on how to best deal with children with ASD who need special care
- Informing passengers of the presence of a child with ASD onboard, especially those passengers sitting next to the child’s seat, so as to inform them of and prepare them to deal calmly with any disruptive behaviour a child with ASD may make, such as screaming, and avoid embarrassing the child’s parents or companions
- Providing entertainment facilities at airports, such as a special sensory room, to give the travelling child a sense of reassurance before entering the plane
- Providing an informative magazine or film to give a detailed explanation about the processes and procedures of travel inside the airport or plane, which will help the child or parents anticipate what they will experience during the trip
- To provide dedicated food recipes, whether on plane or in the hotel
- To provide a monitoring device in case the child is lost
- To provide an-all-time present identification cards containing all relevant information of a child with ASD
- Distributing appropriate games for children with ASD on the plane, such as games that increase focus and attention
- Coding some seats in the plane with special colours
- Providing clothes to protect children with ASD from harm in case they hit their heads against anything inside the plane, airport or hotel
- Providing virtual reality games to make children with ASD happy
- Providing special headphones to protect against pressure and loud sounds
- Providing a massage chair for relaxation
These recommendations are made thanks to the discussions/feedback of a group of People of Determination, namely: Eqab Albadarneh, Senior Occupational therapist – Siham Al Rashidi – Raisa Al Falasi – Aisha Al Hosani – Majid Usaimi – Yasmeen Al Qallaf – Manar Abdul Qader Al Hammadi – Ayesha Al Mehairi – Naseib Obaid Sebait – Mosbeh Saeed Mosbeh Al Neyadi.