September 26 , 2016
Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) organized 'Heritage Walk with People with Disabilities' in Kathmandu on Monday on the eve of World Tourism Day 2016.
Tourism fraternity across the world celebrates World Tourism Day on September 27 by organizing various programs. TAAN has been organizing the program for the past couple of decades. The theme for this year's celebration is 'Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility'.
As the theme of this year's celebration is related to making tourism services accessible to all, TAAN organized a walk with people with disabilities. Around 30 people with disabilities actively participated in the program, carrying pla cards with messages like 'Tourism for All', 'Promoting Universal Accessibility', 'Put no barriers in tourism', 'Make tourism services accessible to all', Everyone can travel', 'Yes, we can travel' and 'Make Nepal accessible to all', among others.
Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shankar Prasad Adhikari, inaugurated the rally.
The rally started from Tridevi Marg and pass through Narsingh Chowk, Thahity, Bhedasingh and Indrachowk before culminating into a corner meet on the premises of Shiva Parbati Temple in Basantapur Duarbar Square.
Speaking at the corner meet, TAAN General Secretary Karna Bahadur Lama said that the main objective of the program was to create awareness about accessible tourism among both the government and the private sector. "Tourism entrepreneurs should update their facilities and services accordingly to make tourism accessible to all," he added.
Ram Prasad Sapkota, coordinator of Sports and Events Department of TAAN, said the event was organized to draw attention of policymakers toward the need to make tourism services accessible to all. "There should be no barrier in tourism. Everyone has the right to travel. The government should prepare necessary infrastructures to uphold such rights," he said.
Similarly, Uttam Deuja of Accessible Himalayas – the partner organization of the event, said that the government needs to learn a lot from other countries in terms of making tourism accessible to all. "Hotels and tourism service providers should build necessary infrastructures to facilitate people with disabilities. Accessible tourism is a niche tourism product in developed countries. We should also tell the world that even people with disabilities can participate in tourism activities here," he said.
Likewise, TAAN President Chandra Prasad Rijal said disabilities shouldn't confine one's willingness to travel and enjoy tourism products and services. "You have every right to travel, visit new places and enjoy new services. The service providers should update their infrastructures accordingly to accommodate you," he said, urging the government to make tourism services accessible to all without any further delay.
Representatives from Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Kathmandu Environmental Education Program (KEEP), Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA) and Tourist Police, Ganesh Himal Tourism Development Committee, Journalists Association for Tourism (JAT) Nepal, among others participated in the program. Likewise, TAAN office-bearers, executive members and staffers were present in the program.