NASSAU, Bahamas, Tuesday September 6, 2016 – The Ministry of Tourism is aiming to tap into a billion-dollar travel sector that has long been overlooked – disabled travellers – and will now begin to place accessibility at the heart of tourism development in The Bahamas.
Director in the Office of the Tourism Minister, Janet Johnson, says accessible tourism seeks to remove all barriers that would hinder and deny disabled persons – and locals – from enjoying easy access to everyday activities.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” she said. “It’s a feel-good initiative because we are doing the right thing while potentially benefitting from a relatively new and lucrative revenue stream.”
Johnson said Barbados is leading the charge in this regard and benefiting handsomely. She noted the country has implemented creative measures for disabled guests to experience the country and incentives for businesses that make accommodations for those individuals.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said The Bahamas has to adapt to this emerging market.
“We want to ensure that when guests come to our shores they can enjoy what we have to offer,” he said.
“It’s an important aspect that we want our visitors to know that we take seriously. We in The Bahamas want your stay to be memorable. Part of that is to ensure that all members of a family can access a particular space or take part in certain activities.”
Infrastructure audits of the country’s facilities such as hotels, public spaces and ports of entry are being taken to see how The Bahamas measures up as far as providing facilities for the disabled is concerned.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism will host a one-day symposium as the country’s participation in a September 27 global campaign led by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to raise consciousness for accessible tourism.
The World Tourism Day 2016 Celebration will be held under the theme ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’.
International guest speakers and local experts have been invited to participate at the Bahamas event which is being held at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort.