The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will promote accessible tourism for vulnerable social groups. To increase the number of facilities with universal design, without barriers in tourism facilities for eating, sleeping and entertainment, the SMG will first support a fund of KRW 10 million to 100 million as well as consulting services to individual businesses such as hotels, restaurants and convenience facilities at public buildings in six tourism special districts including Myeongdong and Itaewon for installation and remodeling of disability access.
The SMG will expand the development of special tour courses for each type of disability and handicapped level so that a physical disability does not lead to discomfort in tourism and cooperate with travel agencies to promote their commercialization as tour products. Barrier-free tourism facilities and outstanding tour products will receive a designated certification mark. The SMG will also purchase a tour bus for the disabled with a wheelchair lift to accommodate disabled group tours through the construction of a welfare hall.
The SMG will begin distribution of a new guidebook in 2018 containing the accessibility information (slopes, accessible restrooms, accessible elevators) of each facility pictographically based on a census conducted on 120 major tourism facilities in Seoul. The SMG will also open a Barrier-free Tourism Support Center by the first half of 2018 which will provide a one-stop solution to travel planning, reservations, and car rentals. The number of special tour guides for the disabled will be increased threefold (8 → 28) and walking tours will be increased to five courses (currently, only available at Deoksugung and Gyeonghuigung palaces).
Based on the above activities, the SMG announced the Barrier-free Tourism City Plan with 12 tasks in four areas. Expansion of tourism welfare is one of the 100 national tasks suggested by the new government. The four areas include: ① Improvement of the physical environment and travel convenience <Tourism Facility>, ② Provision and development of customized tourism contents <Tourism Contents>, ③ Enhancement of accessibility of tourism information <Tourism Information>, and ④ Improvement of social awareness and tourism service <Social Awareness>.
First, improve tourism facilities in areas frequently visited by domestic and foreign tourists and increased the number of buses for the disabled to create an environment in which vulnerable tourist groups can easily access and move about.
Second, develop and offer customized contents for vulnerable tourist groups. In addition to the 29 barrier-free tourism courses that are in operation currently, 10 additional contents will be developed each year for specific targets including each disability type, seniors, and families with babies and children. The SMG will also implement a project of sending disabled and low income groups on trips through private-public cooperation.
Third, enhance the accessibility of tourism information. Create and distribute a new SMG tourism guidebook containing the accessibility information of major tourism facilities and offer it on the mobile app version of the Seoul tourism website (www.visitseoul.net). Pictographs will mark whether ‘there is a slope by an entrance and exit,’ and whether ‘there is an accessible restroom.’
The SMG will also open and operate the ‘Barrier-free Tourism Support Center’ starting in the first half of 2018. The center will provide a one-stop service including travel plan design, reservations, and rental of tour buses for the disabled, wheelchairs, and strollers.
Fourth, the professional workforce for vulnerable tourism groups (Culture and Tourism Guides) will be increased threefold and training will be provided to people who work in the tourism industry to improve the service quality and spread social awareness of tourism in Seoul.
|① Accessibility: Easy wheelchair access connected to the subway entrance||② Information Service: Information desk and ticket office have low rise decks|
|③ Parking: Disabled parking area near elevator||④ Entryway: Wide with low threshold, small slope, good hand rails|
|⑤ Pedestrian Road: Convenient to move around with no threshold and connected slopes||⑥ Restroom: Accessible restroom on each floor, plenty of space under washstands|
|⑦ Convenience Facilities: All convenience facilities have no threshold and have automatic doors||⑧ Other: Braille guidebooks, wheelchairs and walkers available|