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A Case On Accessible Tourism In India
PGDM- Tourism And Travel
Accessible tourism enables people with access
requirements, including mobility, vision, hearing and
cognitive dimensions of access, to function independently
and with equity and dignity through the delivery of
universally designed tourism products, services and
environments. This definition is inclusive of all people
including those travelling with children in prams, people
with disabilities and seniors.
Source - Wikipedia
A rich heritage and diverse cultural which India offers as a
tourist destination is a unique combination that few have
been able to resist through the centuries.
India has many world heritage site, they are famous for their
impeccable exquisiteness, diversity & historical significance.
Millions of people visit them every year and a few of them
who are differently able feel left out due to inherent
physical barriers such as staircases, cobbled pathways,
multiple levels, slopes etc.
“The problem is not how to wipe out the differences but how to unite
with the differences intact”. – Rabindranath Tagore
Elderly and persons with
different abilities have the
wherewithal and time to enjoy
People with reduced mobility
have a right to, and do want to
enjoy travel leisure
Barriers in access
discourage elderly and
persons with different abilities
from visiting or enjoying a
heritage or a cultural site.
Tourism Industry Statistics
Domestic and foreign tourists arrival has registered an
increase of 13.8% and 8.9% respectively during 2010-11.
(Indian Tourism Statistics 2011,GoI)
Ministry of Tourism targets the inflow of foreign tourists
from 3 million to 25 million in next 10 years.
India ranks 9th
in terms of international tourist arrivals.
As per an Australian research agency, 88% of people with
disability take a holiday each year with 11 % of total
Increase in Foreign
Domestic tourists drive
Barriers to access the tourist sites
Barriers in built environment discourage persons with
different abilities & elderly from visiting and enjoying a
Barriers are diverse in nature, the most familiar being
physical constraints such as steps, uneven surfaces, steep
slopes, narrow pathways, inadequate signage etc.
It is critical to identify the barriers to ensure heritage
sites are accessible to all.
Elderly And Differently able facing difficulties
Inaccessible ticket counter
Surface level differences in
Inaccessible drinking water
NO alternative modes of
access make heritage sites
difficult to reach
Toilets without any ramp
Bridging the Divide
• Barrier-free destinations: infrastructure and facilities
• Transport: by air, land and sea, suitable for all users
• High quality services: delivered by trained staff.
• Activities, exhibits, attractions: allowing
participation in tourism by everyone.
• Marketing, booking systems, web sites & services:
information accessible to all.
Steps Taken By MOT(India)
• Make tourist destinations barrier-free. Guidelines have been issued for
making the tourist-facilities which are being created with central financial
• The Ministry has also instituted a new category of Award of Excellence
for Most Barrier-Free Monument/Tourist Attraction in the country to
encourage other agencies responsible for maintaining
monuments/tourist attractions to create barrier-free environment for the
promotion of accessible tourism.
• The condition of making the hotels accessible for people with different
abilities has been included in the guidelines for approval and
classification of 4 and 5 star category hotels.
• New Infra projects DILLI HAAT , DELHI METRO and BRT.
• DTTDC started hop in- hop off low floor buses.
Qutub Minar is among several World
Heritage Sites that Archaeological
Survey of India (ASI) has made
accessible to all including the elderly
and the Differently able.
Qutub Minar, New Delhi
Issues identified at Qutub Minar
Due to lack of insight into the diverse needs and technical know-
how of interventions like ramps, signage and accessible public
conveniences, the Qutub Minar complex was not well-equipped
to receive visitors with reduced mobility.
Scenario Before The Implementation At
The concrete ramp at the
entrance was steep.
The temporary ramp at
the iron pillar was
handrails and had a very
The floor surface of the
ramps was slippery.
The pathway of loose gravel
makes it difficult to walk
let alone maneuver the
Ramp at the entrance of Qutub Minar
Access at Qutub Minar
Ramp at Iltutmish tomb
Ramp to the Iron Pillar
Impact of Access Improvements
Recent reports suggest that after the Qutub Minar was made accessible,
footfall of visitors has increased substantially.
For the year 2009, the revenue earned through ticket sales at the Qutub
Minar stood at Rs 10.41 crore, much higher than that collected for the Red
Fort (Rs 5.5 crore) and Humayun’s Tomb (Rs 4.8 crore).
“Every act of imagination is the discovery of likenesses between two things
which were thought unlike.” Jacob Bronowski
Illustration by Hannah Van de Water
Enhanced visitors experience and satisfaction
Increase in footfall and likelihood of repeat visits
Provides equality of recreation opportunities
Mainstreaming of marginalized groups/ Social inclusion
Compliance with the international standards and UNESCO
norms for WHS
Rationale: an inclusive approach
An inclusive approach recognizes everyone as a potential
visitor and encompasses an environment which is used by
everyone regardless of age, disability, gender or background.
Improving access is one of the keys to a wider understanding,
valuing and caring of heritage sites.
Although improvements are needed in a number of other
areas, interventions will need to be prioritized if the agenda for
achieving inclusion of persons with disabilities and elderly is to
Incorporating accessibility at tourist sites allows disabled and non-
disabled visitors to enjoy the experience together.
There is a need to raise the profile of accessibility thereby making
heritage sites reachable to the disabled and elderly to ensure they
do not feel isolated from the mainstream.
Challenge lies in appreciating these varied and conflicting interests
and yet find the most appropriate solutions to provide access.
Fulfillment of this commitment, therefore, requires inclusive and
affirmative policies, sensitive infrastructure planning based on
universal design standards and effective implementation &
An accessible environment is an
essential requirement for around 10%, a
need for 30- 40%,comfortable for all,
and problematic for no one.