Report & Pictures on Accessible Tourism Promotes National Development (Conference, Exhibition, and Activities to Promote Tourism for All)
This is an event to use Tourism as a tool to achieve barrier-free society that could enhance people with disabilities to live independently in the society.
The Tourism Industry is one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries, especially in South East Asia. In Malaysia various development programmes have placed our country as one of the most successful models of tourism development in the South-East Asia region.
However the Malaysian tourism has yet to tap into the tourism segment for the disabled (PWDs) and the senior citizens. None of the Malaysian travel agencies offer any tour products that cater specifically to these two groups.
As populations age (especially in the West), "grey tourism" (also known as seniors market) has emerged as a major new market segment. This was brought about through the ageing of the generation which has historically led market shifts during the later part of the twentieth century.
Closely linked to the needs of the seniors market are people with disabilities, and this tourism segment is termed Accessible Tourism (AT). AT offers a new opportunity for segmentation that merges the access requirements of the seniors and disability markets. Besides providing information as well as presenting, promoting and marketing easy tourism facilities, Accessible Tourism can also provide tourist destinations with a greater competitive advantage for attracting these growing niche markets.
The event with the theme "Accessible Tourism Promotes National Development" that is jointly organized by Beautiful Gate Foundation For The Disabled, JICA Malaysia, Disabled People International Asia Pacific, and 14 disabilities related organizations, as pro-event for International Conference on Accessible Tourism 2013 (Pro-ICAT 2013), had successfully convoy message on changing perception of providing disabled friendly facilities from "extra cost" to "investment". It also raised the awareness on the importance of Accessible Tourism and is believe will bring about a tremendous impact to Malaysian tourism and disabled friendly facilities in the near future.