The Barrier Free Tourism Project is on a mission to make Kerala a 100% accessible friendly tourism destination by 2021.
On Monday, March 4th, the state government celebrated the completion of the first stage, which involved making 70 tourism locations accessible. The event was opened by Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala Minister for Co-Operation, Tourism, and Devaswom.
Participants included activists, representatives from NGOs, and people from the differently-abled community. The event took place in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala.
The Barrier Free Project was launched by the state government back in 2018. The primary goal of introducing the project was to make more than 200 tourist attractions accessible as well as disabled-friendly by 2021. The list of places comprised eminent beaches, parks, and museums.
It is worth noting that popular beaches like Alleppy and Munakkal Azhikode now feature wheelchair ramps, washrooms for people using wheelchairs, and a slew of other new facilities.
The Barrier Free Tourism Project is an initiative introduced by the World Tourism Organization. Kerala is likely to be the first state in the country to have successfully completed the initiative. Members of the differently-abled community who participated in the event applauded the efforts the government has taken.
According to Vice-President of All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) Rajesh S, the initiative fails to reach out to people of all disability types, not just those using wheelchairs. AKWRF is an NGO that empowers wheelchair users in Kerala.
Rajesh said, "As far as we know, wheelchair ramps are introduced along with Braille signage, audio clippings and even guides who will reach out to disabled tourists."
Popular destinations will be equipped with about 4-5 wheelchairs for those who don't bring their wheelchairs. Aside from that, these places will have disabled-friendly washrooms so that people can enjoy these tourist locations regardless of their abilities.
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