06 May 2017
Qatar Tourism Authority announced its partnership with Sasol for the first ever Accessible Qatar Conference being held on May 8th and 9th at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC). The conference will run over the first two days of the 14th Project Qatar exhibition, leveraging the biggest construction fair in Qatar as a platform for industry players to explore development that puts accessibility first.
Project developers, owners, managers and operators will meet with more than a dozen international accessibility experts to discuss enhancing accessibility at existing and future venues.
The Conference’s opening session will be hosted by QTA and will focus on sustainable and accessible tourism.
Guest speakers from Japan, Australia and Italy will discuss best practices from their respective accessible cities and the marketing strategies that make destinations attractive and viable for people with disabilities. With sustainability in mind, the session will cover steps for improving, maintaining and developing consistent accessibility efforts.
Accessible Qatar builds on Sasol’s ongoing Definitely Able initiative. The concept for the initiative grew out of an engaging session called “Finding the Accessible Doha” held during the Definitely Able Conference in March 2015, where disabled individuals from across Qatar, the region and the world discussed inclusion for people with disability as full members of society.
QTA’s support for the Accessible Qatar conference comes as an extension of its partnership with Sasol in the development of the ‘Accessible Qatar’ application last year.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer commented, “QTA is delighted to partner with Sasol for the Accessibility Qatar Conference, which promotes our shared vision for enhancing accessibility for disabled individuals in Qatar, whether visitors or residents, at the country’s numerous touristic, commercial, hospitality and leisure venues.”
Al Ibrahim added, “QTA has a regulatory mandate to ensure that the development of the tourism sector is inclusive of the disabled community’s needs. We believe that achieving our goals is made possible when we engage with the public and private sector to promote our country’s development from within, and we are pleased with the opportunity to collaborate with Sasol and its partners on this initiative.”
QTA works to ensure that tourism and hotel establishments in Qatar operate at the highest standards. As part of its mandate to regulate the tourism sector, a hotel classification system was launched in January 2016, paving the way for a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and accessible hospitality sector. This system, which includes extensive accessibility criteria, holds developers, owners, management and operators accountable for the property’s classification.
Phinda Vilakazi, President of GTL Ventures at Sasol said, “Sasol is proud to partner with Qatar Tourism Authority for the Accessible Qatar Conference 2017. Ever since the Definitely Able Conference in 2015, Sasol has been dedicated to showcasing accessibility in the local community. We decided this year to extend our message to the project developers, who play a big role in enhancing the existing and upcoming infrastructure around the country, to accommodate the disabled community. Sasol is a firm believer in the National Vision 2030 and we are committed in contributing towards making Qatar an international accessible destination. We thank Qatar Tourism Authority for their ongoing support and we look forward to building on the success that has been achieved.”
The Accessible Qatar conference will bring unique educational experiences, expert insight from prestigious speakers, exclusive workshops and training, prospective networking and greater opportunities for the disabled individuals in Qatar.
More information can be found on the Accessible Qatar Conference website (www.AccessibleQatarConference.com) and on the Definitely Able social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), where users can keep tabs on the latest developments.
Accessible Qatar, a Sasol initiative, is a smartphone application and website, the first of its kind in the region providing the disabled community instant and reliable information about the accessibility of public and touristic locations in Qatar. Combining expertly-audited data with user-submitted reviews and ratings, Accessible Qatar gives the disabled community and tourists the confidence to visit different accessible destinations. Moreover, having accessibility information publicly available on Accessible Qatar will encourage venues to make necessary modifications in support of accessibility for all patrons.
As part of its ongoing Accessible Qatar initiative, Sasol partnered with Project Qatar, the leading construction exhibition in Qatar, in order to raise awareness on the accessibility issue and to influence project developers towards making their existing and future venues accessible. Sasol
and Project Qatar will also introduce a two-day “Accessible Qatar Conference” on 8 and 9 May 2017, and “Accessible Qatar Awards” for best accessible venues in Qatar on 9 May 2017.