Tour Operators Association of Assam and Shishu Sarothi join forces to promote accessible tourism in state

In a novel initiative aimed at making Assam’s vibrant tourism industry more inclusive, the Tour Operators Association of Assam (TOAA) and Shishu Sarothi, a leading non-profit organization working for the empowerment of persons with disabilities, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote accessible tourism in Assam. The MoU was signed in the presence of Shri Jayanta Malla Baruah, Hon’ble Minister, Tourism and Shri Rituparna Baruah, Chairman, Assam Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ATDCL) on the occasion of the World Tourism Day celebrations of the Govt. of Assam on 27th September with a marathon “Run for heritage” in Sivasagar.

This collaboration reflects the commitment of both organizations to create an environment where everyone, including persons with disabilities, can enjoy the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and diverse experiences that Assam has to offer. Under the MoU, TOAA and Shishu Sarothi will work closely together to develop and implement strategies that enhance accessibility and inclusivity in the tourism sector.

Key components of this partnership include sensitization and awareness trainings for tourism professionals to raise awareness about the needs and preferences of travelers with disabilities, ensuring a welcoming and accommodating environment; promotion and providing support for the development of accessible infrastructure and amenities at various tourist destinations across Assam; promotion of employment opportunities of persons with disabilities in the tourism sector; and undertaking collaborative activities to highlight Assam as an inclusive and accessible tourist destination, attracting a wider range of visitors.

Debajit Borah, President of TOAA expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “We believe that Accessible tourism is an integral part of the broader themes of tourism and green investment due to its alignment with inclusivity, sustainability, economic benefits, environmental considerations, legal compliance, positive branding, and long-term viability. Accessible tourism is not only a moral imperative but also a tremendous business opportunity. Our (Assam’s) natural beauty and rich culture should be accessible to everyone.”

Shishu Sarothi’s Executive Director, Ketaki Bardalai echoed these sentiments, saying, “This partnership is a significant step toward a more inclusive and equitable society, where persons with disabilities can participate fully in the joys of travel.” She especially expressed sincere appreciation for TOAA’s initiative in taking this forward and hoped that the partnership will be a driving positive force to foster inclusivity in tourism in the state.

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