Creating barrier-free travel opportunities for people with disabilities
“PWD have had many playgrounds like sports, singing, talent contests... Tourism is a need for many people, including PWD; however, tourism for PWD is still an untapped market. That is why we have been pursuing an idea of implementing a project for promoting accessible tourism for PWD in Vietnam”, Ms. Trinh Thi Thu Thuy shared the idea of establishing the project.
"Thuy, you should travel on behalf of us"
Ms. Trinh Thi Thu Thuy used to work for a travel agency, therefore she had opportunities to visit many places and experience various services. She has realized that PWD face many barriers in accessing tourism services and products.
PWD are keen to travel, however, they face many obstacles in searching for information, suitable services and destinations. Due to lack of information, in many cases they cannot access the intended tourist destination. For people with severe disabilities, challenges are even greater.
In the past, there was no specific website for accessible tourism. In order to organize a trip, it was necessary to have a pre-travel survey to make sure if the site was eligible for wheelchair users and the available facilities were suitable for PWD.
Another barrier is related to a common awareness about PWD. Just talking about them, people often think that PWD want "reduction or exempt" privileges. In fact, PWD also work and can afford to live on their own and contribute to the society.
Ms. Trinh Thi Thu Thuy (top row, 4th from right) with participants at Workshop on promoting accessible tourism for PWD in Vietnam held in Can Tho city
Desiring to provide information on tourist destinations for PWD and raise public awareness, the project on promoting accessible tourism for PWD in Vietnam was born in 2016 by Ms. Trinh Thi Thu Thuy and the group “For the bright future".
The first step of the project is to develop an accessible tourism website. To do that, the project members spent time surveying facilities of typical destinations; connecting with tour organizers and local service providers to get their support in surveying their services and facilities. This information is updated on the website and user friendly for PWD and the community.
"I felt disappointed a lot when I once surveyed more than ten points but could not find any accessible tourist destination. However, each time when I heard the friends from the PWD club saying for fun: Thuy, you should travel on behalf of us, I found it necessary to be persevere, try more to give people in the same situation opportunities to access tourism services, enjoy equal participation in social activities, and integrate with the community", Thu Thuy shared.
Looking forward to the community's cooperation
In 3 years, Trinh Thi Thu Thuy and project team’s members have established the website dulichtiepcan.com, introducing attractions, restaurants, hotels, and transportation facilities suitable for PWD.
The website also has an advisory section, sharing travel stories and legal documents related to PWD. The facebook page "Accessible tourism in Vietnam" posts information and photo albums on destinations that the group has surveyed, helping the community to share, interact and update adequate information more quickly.
This information is not only useful for PWD but also an important channel for tour organizers, businesses and information search services on accessible tourism, to better serve domestic and international tourists.
Ms. Trinh Thi Thu Thuy shared her expectation to receive more cooperation and contribution from the community in terms of sharing information on friendly destinations, accessible tourism to create barrier-free travel opportunities for PWD./.