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Dubai, an inclusive city by 2020
November 2015 659

Dubai hosted its first-ever forum towards its vision of becoming a disability-friendly destination by the year 2020. Titled Dubai Inclusive Development Forum, the two-day event took place last month, in line with the “My Community… A City for Everyone” initiative launched by the city’s leadership in November 2013.

The Dubai Strategy for Persons with Disabilities 2020 was introduced, which would work on protecting the rights of persons with disabilities based on five principle focuses: education, health and rehabilitation, infrastructure and universal accessibility, employment and social protection.

In her keynote speech, Aisha Miran, assistant secretary general, Strategy Management and Governance Sector at the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, said, “Dubai aims to be an inclusive city by 2020. Not only do we want to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in the community, we want to raise awareness, foster change in society’s mind-set as well as shift social barriers towards positive inclusion.”


20 MILLION VISITORS

Dubai aims to attract 20 million visitors by 2020. Combining this with the vision of becoming an inclusive city, makes Dubai increasingly attractive not only as a travel and tourism destinations for leisure and business but also for persons with disabilities.

“Due to our dedication to accessible tourism, we are working together with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) so that our recreation and entertainment facilities become inclusive and fit in seamlessly into Dubai’s vision to be a family destination.

“We are also working towards ensuring that our hotel establishments are inclusive. There are both economic benefits and social impact to this scenario, simply because, in an inclusive city, a person with disability is able to travel freely across the city, have fun with the family, visit malls as well as explore the outdoors and public parks.”


ACCESSIBLE TOURISM

The European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) lists various definitions of accessible tourism (also called inclusive tourism), one of them being, “Tourism and travel that is accessible to all people, with disabilities or not, including those with mobility, hearing, sight, cognitive or intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, older persons and those with temporary disabilities.”

Dr Ivor Ambrose, managing director, ENAT, elaborates, “Accessible tourism is focused on ensuring that suppliers provide services and the necessary infrastructure that allows everyone to travel, including persons with disabilities. Accessible tourism is the driver for inclusive destination development because what is good for the community is also good for the visitors. When we focus on making the community accessible, we automatically make it more open for inbound visitors.”

Another important criteria that governs Dubai’s efforts in becoming an inclusive destination is inclusive urban development. Panellists discussed the importance of taking everyone’s needs into consideration before embarking on the inclusive plan, design and build process. Accessibility does not only pertain to the inside of a building (for example, hotels) but mobility across the city grid.

The Dubai metro was one prime example that was applauded with excellent inclusive facilities in the session.


* With inputs from a Staff Reporter


By Jan D’Sa 


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AccessAbilities 2016

From February 8 to 10 next year, Dubai will host AccessAbilities 2016, a first-of-its-kind-for-the-Middle East expo aimed at enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities. From robotics, special purpose computers, specialised software for communication to inclusive learning material and aids, prosthetics, positioning device sand other assistive and rehabilitative technology, AccessAbilities 2016 will present the latest smart technologies that can lead individuals with disabilities toward better and independent lives.



DUBAI INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT FORUM;DUBAI STRATEGY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES 2020


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