Representation to Department of Tourism on Draft Tourism Policy

+100%-

To,

Ms Akhale Khamo
Additional Director (HoD)
Department of Tourism
Nagaland

DRAFT NAGALAND TOURISM POLICY
With regard to the Draft Nagaland Tourism Policy that has been published for public scrutiny, I would like to offer the following inputs:
As you know, Responsible Tourism (RT) is gaining widespread acceptance across the world today as the best way to maximise the positive impacts of tourism and minimise the negative ones. However, RT has not been mentioned in the draft policy. The guiding principles of Responsible Tourism as laid down in the Cape Town Declaration of 2002 must be included in black and white in the policy and must be the starting point of the new Nagaland Tourism Policy to guide all action plans of tourism in the State.
Specific to People with Disabilities, while Barrier Free design has been mentioned in the Strategy/Action Plan for development, it is vague and ambiguous.
Accessible Tourism is now the focus all over the world, including India. Nagaland cannot afford to bring out a new tourism policy without Accessible Tourism as a fundamental principle. It is both a human rights imperative, as well as an exceptional business opportunity.
It may be mentioned here that Accessible Tourism is now seen as an opportunity rather than an obligation. According to the World Health Organization (2011), there are approximately 1 billion persons with disabilities in the world. This equates to approximately 15% of the world population having a physical, mental or sensory disability. In addition to this data, a rapid ageing of the population is under way. In 2009 there were more than 730 million people over age 60, equivalent to 10% of the population7, an increase of more than 20% since 2000. By the year 2050 the number of persons over age 60 will increase to account for 20% of the world population, with one-fifth of this group being over 80 years old.
Due to the ageing population in industrialised countries, the rate of disability among people with the capacity to travel is increasing, adding to the demand for an accessible environment, transport and services – which adds to the market value of the accessible tourism segment. Much of the senior population has significant income and the desire to travel, both in their home countries and abroad, and their expenditure tends to be higher than that of tourists in general. Because many people with disabilities and older people are no longer active in the workforce, they have the possibility of travelling throughout the year, which helps to reduce the seasonality of demand experienced by many destinations.
Moreover, several studies carried out in Australia, the United States and the European Union have shown that tourists with disabilities are becoming an important part of the tourism market. For example, the percentage of Australian tourists with disabilities has been estimated at about 11% of the total number of tourists. The United Kingdom found in its 2009 tourism survey that 12% of all persons who engaged in domestic tourism (at least one overnight away from home) had a disability or long-term health problems. These tourists also stayed longer and spent more than the average. Similarly, studies in the United States have shown that American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility spend an average of $ 13.6 billion annually on travel.
With the right approach, the tourism sector also has a golden opportunity to serve an important and growing market, win new customers and increase revenue at a time when other segments of the market may be weakening. As more individuals enjoy the opportunity to travel, the tourism industry gets more visitors, longer seasons and new incomes. Society as a whole benefits from new job opportunities, more tax revenue and an accessible environment for both inhabitants and visitors.
Therefore, with the above in mind, Nagaland must make Accessible Tourism the underlying standard as it takes this step to streamline and reorganise the sector.
Please find attached suggested segments that I feel should be prominently included in the Tourism Policy

Diethono Nakhro
Disability Rights Activist

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM
Responsible Tourism (RT) is gaining widespread acceptance across the world today as the best way to maximise the positive impacts of tourism and minimise the negative ones.
Nagaland Tourism will uphold the guiding principles for Responsible Tourism identified in the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in 2002:
Guiding Principles for Economic Responsibility
” Assess economic impacts before developing tourism and exercise preference for those forms of development that benefit local communities and minimise negative impacts on local livelihoods (for example through loss of access to resources), recognising that tourism may not always be the most appropriate form of local economic development.
” Maximise local economic benefits by increasing linkages and reducing leakages, by ensuring that communities are involved in, and benefit from, tourism. Wherever possible use tourism to assist in poverty reduction by adopting pro-poor strategies.
” Develop quality products that reflect, complement, and enhance the destination.
” Market tourism in ways which reflect the natural, cultural and social integrity of the destination, and which encourage appropriate forms of tourism.
” Adopt equitable business practises, pay and charge fair prices, and build partnerships in ways in which risk is minimised and shared, and recruit and employ staff recognising international labour standards.
” Provide appropriate and sufficient support to small, medium and micro enterprises to ensure tourism-related enterprises thrive and are sustainable.

Guiding Principles for Social Responsibility
” Actively involve the local community in planning and decision-making and provide capacity building to make this a reality.
” Assess social impacts throughout the life cycle of the operation – including the planning and design phases of projects – in order to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive ones.
” Endeavour to make tourism an inclusive social experience and to ensure that there is access for all, in particular vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and individuals.
” Combat the sexual exploitation of human beings, particularly the exploitation of children.
” Be sensitive to the host culture, maintaining and encouraging social and cultural diversity.
” Endeavour to ensure that tourism contributes to improvements in health and education.

Guiding Principles for Environmental Responsibility
” Assess environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of tourist establishments and operations – including the planning and design phase – and ensure that negative impacts are reduced to the minimum and maximising positive ones.
” Use resources sustainably, and reduce waste and over-consumption.
” Manage natural diversity sustainably, and where appropriate restore it; and consider the volume and type of tourism that the environment can support, and respect the integrity of vulnerable ecosystems and protected areas
” Promote education and awareness for sustainable development – for all stakeholders.
” Raise the capacity of all stakeholders and ensure that best practice is followed, for this purpose consult with environmental and conservation experts.

ACCESSIBLE TOURISM FOR ALL
Based on the principles of the 2007 International Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, Nagaland Tourism will work to promote “Accessible Tourism for All”, as we believe that facilitating travel for people with disabilities is a basic, cross-cutting and integral element of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy. It is both a human rights imperative, as well as an exceptional business opportunity. In this context, accessible tourism does not only benefit persons with disabilities, it benefits all of society.
The Nagaland Government is committed to increasing accessibility in tourism through a number of actions:
” Set up an Accessible Tourism Cell in the Tourism Department
” Ensure that the principle of universal design is adopted, ensuring that all persons, regardless of their physical or cognitive needs, are able to use and enjoy the available amenities in an equitable and sustainable manner. This approach will forego preferential or segregated treatment of constituents with disabilities to permitting uninhibited use of facilities and services by all, at any time, to equitable effect
” Ensure that all existing tourist events, sites and destinations are made barrier free
” Promote accessibility throughout the tourism chain. Elements of the tourism chain include: A. Tourism destination management; B. Tourism information and advertising (Preparation, information and booking); C. Urban and architectural environments; D. Modes of transport and stations; E. Accommodation, food service and conventions; F. Cultural activities; G. Other tourism activities and events
” Training: To minimise the barriers encountered by persons with disabilities, staff and human resource training will be prioritised to treat people with disabilities with courtesy and efficiency, provide complete information on services and facilities available, and facilitate access to non-accessible services – this will include training guides in sign language.

* Disclaimer. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and participants on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Nagaland Page.