Disability rights advocates push Cebu to adopt accessible tourism program

Asia-Pacific, July 19 2013

CEBU: Advocates for the welfare of people with disabilities are pushing Cebu to adopt a “barrier-free tourism” program to provide more opportunities to people with disabilities.

Adela Kono, accessibility specialist of the Organization of Rehabilitation Agencies (ORA), said that the main problems encountered by people with disabilities include access to public transportation and accessible accommodation facilities in tourism sites.

“Let’s make it (barrier-free tourism) open for people with disabilities and for tourists who are also disabled. These people are looking for very accessible places,” Kono said at the Kapihan sa PIA

Kono mentioned that many people with disabilities have complained of accessibility issues especially in toilets and bathrooms.

She said at least 90% of accidents among people with disabilities and the elderly occur in the bathrooms. She also added that with barrier-free tourism, it would provide more employment opportunities to people with disabilities.

It would also be very friendly to people with disabilities for they can move freely in public places where facilities and infrastructures can accommodate them.

Kono said that with barrier-free tourism, foreign people with disabilities or retirees are attracted to visit the country.

She said that people with disabilities in first world countries have enjoyed benefits which are not available in third world countries.

She encouraged hotels and establishments to provide facilities such as ramps, handbars, wider doorways and facilities that give convenience to travelers in wheelchairs.

She mentioned that last 2011, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy passed an ordinance on barrier-free tourism which suggested the appropriate structures to be made available for people with disabilities in different establishments in Cebu.

“Barrier-free tourism may be truly achieved by enforcing the recommended universal standard design features in all tourism facilities that remove any mobility and safety constraints on the part of people with disabilities,” a provision in the ordinance said.

Source:  Inquirer News

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