Why Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit (DATIS) 2022?
The 21st century’s first comprehensive human rights treaty came into force in May 2008, according all human rights and fundamental freedoms to People with Disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) wanted to make facilities and services effectively compatible with their needs. It wants society to ensure they live on their free consent and are socially active. The world is working to tap the immense opportunities by making travel to and within the destinations comprehensively accessible and enjoyable for them.
For the travel and tourism industry, developing and expanding Accessible Tourism has remained a work in progress. Several destinations are catching up to become compatible. About 15 per cent of the world population or one billion people, according to the WHO, are living with disabilities. It wanted full accessibility to facilities, products and services as a central part of responsible and sustainable tourism policy.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published practical steps to ensure accessibility to all tourists with disabilities. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has in place core principles for accommodating passengers with disabilities through accessibility and inclusion. The Airports Council International (ACI) has a guidance document to help airports enhance the air-travel accessibility for disabled travellers. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has the world’s first standard on accessible tourism to ensure access to tourism facilities and services for all on an equal basis. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) too came out with inclusion and accessibility guidelines for the global travel and tourism market that will surpass the US$8.9 trillion mark by 2026.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic playing havoc, travel and tourism’s direct contribution globally to GDP was US$4.7 trillion in 2020. The 21st century’s second pandemic, according to the UNCTAD, caused a steep drop in tourist arrivals across the world a US$2.4 trillion economic hit. By 2050, people over the age of 60 are expected to account for 21 per cent of the global population. About half of them will have a disability. On average, disabled adults now travel over half the distance per year travelled by adults without a disability. Around 88 per cent of disabled people take a holiday each year, accounting for about 8.2 million overnight trips.
Accessible Tourism has a multi-billion dollar business potential. In the US alone, a whopping US$17.3 billion is spent by adults with disabilities on travel each year. Dubai is working to be the world’s most-loved accessible destination. Accessible Tourism stands out as a long ray of hope for destinations severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The world is seeing over 100 destinations competing to fork out a bigger slice of the Accessible Tourism market getting developed. People with Disabilities- with their families in tow love taking holidays and enjoying the sights and sounds of destinations. Accessible facilities and services provide value-addition to destinations and enable them to compete.
DATIS-2022 provides a platform to facilitate decision-makers, experts and specialists from across a broad spectrum of travel and tourism businesses debate about equipping and making the world fit for disabled tourists. Ways of developing barrier-free destinations need to be explored through best practices for a competitive edge. Head to Dubai on January 12, 2022, and participate in DATIS at the J W Marriott Marquis Hotel and see how tourism could work well for all.