The hotel department at the Ministry of Tourism started implementing the Accessible Tourism Project in hotels for disabled people. New hotels rated more than three stars are obliged to implement it, while it will be suggested to existing hotels.
Abdel Fattah El-Asi, chairperson of the hotel facilities department at the Ministry of Tourism, said that the department is preparing new conditions that will be applied on hotels, in order to encourage tourism to Egypt for disabled people, under the globally-recognised name of accessible tourism. The project offers facilities for those who have disabilities and those who are able-bodied.
He pointed out that this type of tourism is important, because disabled people do not travel alone and are usually accompanied by two to three people. El-Asi added that Egypt had begun to working on accessible tourism years ago; however, the 25 January Revolution caused the project to stop in its tracks.
Additionally, the Accessible Tourism Project will not be obligatory for existing hotels, and its implementation will not be included in the hotels’ evaluation. Hotels are already suffering from several crises due to the decline in Egypt’s tourism, hindering them from implementing new projects.
The prices of extra service charges for accessible tourism will be defined according to each hotel owner’s liking, as the department will act as an adviser.
Head of the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association, Kamel Abu Ali, expects a hotel occupancy increase by 100% after facilitating the procedures for accessible tourism, since disabled people do not travel alone.
He stressed that it will be very expensive for existing hotels to install preparations for disabled people, which makes it impossible to implement at the time. Investors are currently not incentivised to inject new funds.
Abu Ali said that the association had discussed the feasibility of implementing such types of tourism before, and that it had submitted proposals to the Ministry of Tourism.