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Department of Tourism Initiatives in Barrier Free Tourism

The Department of Tourism has been taking several steps for providing facilities to physically challenged persons. This issue was discussed in the Tourism Coordination Committee meeting and the hotels were advised to have some guidelines formulated so that accessibility to them by physically challenged becomes easier. Accordingly the Hotel Association of India have formulated guidelines for providing facilities to the physically challenged persons.

These guidelines are as follows :

Parking and approach area

  1. Exclusively earmarked and sign-posted and accessible parking spaces nearest to entrance.
  2. Ramps at the main entry with handrails for disabled guests sufficiently wide for movement of wheel chair. Anti-slip material to be used on the floor of the ramp.
  3. If there is a revolving door at the entrance, adjacent singing door should provide 32" of clear width for entry.

Lobby, Public area

  1. Provide at least one pay telephone not higher than 48" of the floor.
  2. Accessible routes in public area to be free of protruding objects that could be dangerous to guests with visual impairments.
  3. Fire and emergency alarms to have both visible and audible signals.
  4. If a hotel has several dinning facilities it is necessary that, one multicuisine restaurant will have access for wheelchair (without change of floor level to negotiate). Tables should allow easy movements and approach by the customers in wheelchair.
  5. Provision of one toilet in the lobby/public area similar to those in disabled-friendly guest rooms.

Lifts

  1. A lift to provide 46" x 48" car platform for easy boarding of a wheel chair with doors of the elevator to provide 32" of clear opening.
  2. Elevator call buttons to be located at 42" of floor level.
  3. "UP" button on the top and "DOWN" on the bottom.
  4. Elevator may be equipped with audio-announcement indicating number of the floor arrival for guests with vision impairment.
  5. Provide hand bar on the two sides in the interior of lift.

Room

  1. Door to guestroom to provide 32" width chair opening and 18" clearance on the pull side.
  2. Room number on the door may be raised an Braille equivalents to the raised letter to be provided.
  3. Key to the guestroom to be easily operable by one hand without tight gripping or twisting.
  4. Door of the bathroom should be same as of entrance door.
  5. Room should have adequate clearance for wheel chair to negotiate round the beds. Mirror and other facilities such as writing desk. Lights etc. easily accessible from sitting in wheel chair.

Bathroom

  1. A person confined in wheelchair must have an external shower facility to enable him to manoeuvre backwards under the shower and taps accessible. Ideally a certain should be provided on a rail that can be pushed around the bath chair.
  2. W.C. Pan seat should be lower than the normal for easy sliding from wheelchair. Toilet seat should be 17"" to 19"" above floor. The floor level of the bedroom and the bathroom to be same. A disabled friendly hotel room shall have no split level floor.
  3. Towels and toiletries etc. to be located at arms-length/appropriate height.
  4. Faucet to be operable with closed fist i.e. by pressure of hand
  5. Provision of grab bars alongside and behind toilet.

Fire Hazard

  1. Security and Housekeeping especially Floor Staff to be trained to rescue and evacuate disabled guests on top priority in case of emergency such as fire, earthquake etc.

Note: Guidelines are illustrative and may be modified, refined or supplemented further as may be locally required or considered feasible by the hotels.

We need to see just how much of this is being implemented!!

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