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29 Feb, 2012

India’s ITC Hotels Offers Free Design Manual for Disabled Travellers


Small and medium sized hotels in the developing countries seeking to improve facilities for the physically-challenged have been provided a free design manual, courtesy of Mr. Niranjan Khatri, General Manager, Welcomenviron Initiatives, ITC WelcomGroup. Mr Khatri forwarded the manual to Travel Impact Newswire in the wake of the free Toolkit on Tourism and Poverty Reduction provided to Travel Impact Newswire readers courtesy of the International Labour Organisation.

According to the manual, ‘Universal Design India Principles’ is a design guide for inclusive environments in hotels. It has been compiled for ITC Hotels based on international best practices and on ground experience gained from evaluating the accessibility of all ITC Hotels Division properties.

Says the manual, “Incorporating universal design in planning, building and running various aspects of the hospitality industry has many merits. Such properties ensure equitable comfort to everyone including but is not restricted to, guests with disabilities, elderly travellers, parents with little children, people recovering from illness (medical tourism) etc.

“This makes good economic sense as it minimises the need for customised design solutions. It also boosts clientele from these specific groups. Universally designed spaces are also safer for use by all.”

According to the manual, “It has been identified that major tourism by disabled people and international conferences for persons with disability most often are not hosted in India largely because of inadequate accessible accommodations for disabled travellers and participants travelling in groups. With India fast becoming the centre stage for the global market and tourism, it makes good business sense for the hospitality industry to adopt the Principles of Universal Design while designing and running units.”

The manual’s design incorporate five principles of Indian traditions and wisdom, created by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad:

1.    Equitable / Saman: The design is fair and non- discriminating to diverse users in the Indian context;

2.    Usable / Sahaj: The design is operable by all users in the Indian context;

3.    Cultural / Sanskritik: The design respects the cultural past and the changing present and assist all users in the Indian context;

4.    Economy / Sasta: The design respects affordability and cost considerations for diverse users in the Indian context;

5.    Aesthetics / Sundar: The design employs aesthetics to promote social integration among users in the Indian context.

Download the full manual here.