The first accessible trekking trail designed specifically for people with mobility difficulties is scheduled to be inaugurated in Pokhara, Nepal on March 30.
The 1.3km trail will facilitate trekking for people with disabilities as Nepal makes strides to attract a substantial portion of untapped accessible market, reports The Kathmandu Post.
The inauguration will take place during a three-day international conference on accessible adventure to be organized from March 29 at Lake City, the organizer said on March 2.
US-based International Development Institute is organizing the conference, expecting 50 international and 75 domestic participants.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Chief Executive Officer Deepak Raj Joshi said the conference is the first of its kind in Nepal, and will be looking to promote accessible holidays for people with physical limitations that remain vastly undeserved owing to inaccessible travel and tourism facilities and services.
He also said the conference will try and convey a message that Nepal is accessible to all people, regardless of disabilities, physical limitations, or age.
Four Season Travel & Tours Operations Director Pankaj Pradhananga, one of the organizers, said annually an estimated one billion tourists travel around the world, 10% of whom live with some form of disability.
Generally, tourists with disabilities rely on word-of-mouth publicity, and tend to stay longer than the average length of stay. If people with disabilities are told that the tourist destination is friendly to them, they have the tendency and eagerness to visit that place.
According to Lonely Planet, the world’s largest travel guide publisher, 50% of people with disabilities would travel more if suitable facilities were available to them wherever they travelled.
Studies show that around 88% of people with a disability take a holiday each year.
In Australia, people with disabilities spend around $8 billion on travelling. Around 12% of the European market is dedicated to people with disabilities. The market for accessible tourism is large and continues to grow.