DOT and NCDA hold a Seminar on “Accessible Tourism for Persons with Disabilities”

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) will jointly conduct a seminar on “Accessible Tourism for Persons with Disabilities ” on August 18, 2016 at Rosario’s Seafood and Restaurant and Grill House in Butuan City.

The one-day seminar is an advocacy effort which aims primarily to promote the “Tourism for All” policy of the government, a national campaign to provide policy guidelines for stakeholders on accessible tourism as provided for in the government’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). Under the Plan, the government is targeting arrivals of 10 million tourists from foreign countries and 35.5 million domestic tourists for the period 2011-2016. This initiative is an off-shoot of DOT Memorandum Circular No. 2011-14 issued on February 11, 2011 entitled “Adopting the Guidelines on the Grant of Special Discounts to Persons with Disabilities Pursuant to the Provisions of Republic Act No. 9442.”

The above-mentioned policy requires DOT accredited establishments, such as restaurants, hotels, inns, apartels, pension houses, resorts and similar lodging establishments; tertiary hospitals, ambulatory clinics, spas, sports and recreational clubs/centers, museums, galleries, tourist land and water and air transport operators, to comply with the pertinent provisions of R.A. 9442 entitled “An Act Amending Republic Act No. 7277, Otherwise Known As the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and Other Purposes”. Failure to comply with the grant of such benefits being stated in the said Guidelines is a “ground for the Review of its Accreditation of DOT’s Rules and Regulations on Accreditation without prejudice to said establishment’s liability.”

To support this mandate and to achieve its objectives, frontliners in the tourism/business industry, such as hotel and restaurant managers, front desk officers, tourist transport operators, tour guides and other service providers in the said DOT-accredited establishments will be provided the knowledge to learn and practice the right ways on how to handle persons with mobility, hearing and visual impairments during the “Seminar on How to Handle Persons with Disabilities in Tourism Industry” to be conducted on August 18 this year at Rosario’s Seafood and Restaurant and Grill House in Butuan City.

Other participants include officials of the national government agencies based in Caraga Region that implement the tourism industry programs, representatives of Local Tourism Councils, persons with disabilities, and the media, among others.

Distinguished resource persons will discuss significant topics covering disability-related perspectives to be led by Ms. Carmen R. Zubiaga, NCDA Acting Executive Director. Others include Mr. Rizalio R. Sanchez, Chief of the Information, Education and Communication Division of NCDA, who will discuss the Key Mandates on Disability, and Director Mary Jean A. Camarin of DOT Caraga Regional Office who will discuss the Overview of the Seminar. Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada of the host City will present the City’s tourism programs for persons with disabilities.

This seminar is an offshoot of the DOT policy providing for a series of campaign that were conducted in key cities of the country that include Manila, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Baguio, Legazpi, Lipa, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro and Koronadal City, among others. Other cities being targeted this year where similar undertaking will be conducted include Oriental Mindoro and Zamboanga.

“Tourism for All” concept ensures tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age as long as they are able to travel and function independently in their socio-cultural and economic activities in places where they want to visit.