Kerala is one of the tourist destinations which features on almost every traveler’s bucket list. Blessed with beaches and backwaters to lush slopes of the Western Ghats abounding with nature, the state attracts visitors from all parts of the world.

Fort Kochi becomes the first disabled-friendly heritage site in Kerala

Apart from the blessings of Kerala, credit goes to Kerala Tourism. The state department of tourism constantly makes efforts to ensure tourists in Kerala have a fulfilling experience. One such effort is the tourism board’s initiative to make Kerala a destination equipped and prepared to welcome even those who are disabled.

The historic town of Fort Kochi, located in the Ernakulam district, is all set to become the first-ever disabled-friendly heritage destination in the state of Kerala. The town has been refurbished with facilities provided to help those with visual, hearing, mobility or cerebral impairments. Specially designed ramps and non-slippery tiles on the walkways have been introduced. These measures will provide easy movement to the disabled, the elderly, and those on wheelchairs.

In order to provide convenient viewing of the famous Chinese fishing nets, the board plans to build cast iron handrails and projected standing areas. The other amenities that have been proposed include a special toilet facility for the disabled, seating and lamp posts made out of cast iron, sliding doors and grab bars. There shall also be eating areas every 30 meters of the walkway, and balconies that can be accessed through the ramps.

Other major tourist destinations in Kerala are also scheduled to become disabled-friendly. To commemorate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, basic facilities for the disabled will be provided by the month of December this year. These initiatives are a part of fulfilling the UNWTO goal of “Tourism for All”.

Kerala Tourism aims to be an important part of the development work of India’s tourism infrastructure. The Minister for Tourism A.C. Moideen quoted, “We are on the job to create basic facilities for leisure and recreation for people with special needs by December 3 in major destinations”.

Outlets providing quality food for the disabled, special restrooms in hotels, self-functioning ramps, wheel-chair lifts, wheelchairs, and special houseboats are some of the many measures the Kerala tourism board is planning to set up.

To empower disabled tourists, Kerala Tourism plans on setting information centers where tourist guides and all personnel are trained in sign language. For those who are blind or have special needs, the tourism board plans to provide signage in Braille, tactile maps, and recorded travel information and guidance. The centers will also be provided with crutches, walking sticks, and electric wheelchairs.

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