An open discussion “Inclusive tourism in Belarus: possibilities and perspectives” was held on May 16 at the faculty of international relations of BSU. The event was organized in the frames of the Accessibility week 2017 which is being held in Belarus now by the department of international tourism of FIR BSU.
The main topics of the discussion were – how inclusive tourism is understood in international practice, what possibilities for its development have been created in Belarus and what we should wait for in the future. Representatives of the tourism department and of the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities presented the results of their joint work, which are already available for Belarusian touristic market, namely, recommendations of the World Tourism Organization on the development of inclusive tourism in Russian, results of the monitoring of accessibility of Minsk touristic sites, a brochure explaining what an inclusive tourism is and how to start its development. Activists of “Innovation technologies in tourism” presented their concept of Belarusian touristic market research from the point of view of its readiness for introducing of inclusive approaches. The structure of the research was criticized by touristic business representatives who doubt that the questioner presented by students will be interesting to respondents.
The head of the Hospitality Management Company "MD Hospitality group" Margarita Denisova presented her vision of inclusive tourism, as well as real examples of how our touristic objects do not always know how to work with tourists with special needs.
The journalist of the portal Tio.by Nadezhda Suslova expressed her opinion: it is necessary to speak about inclusive tourism in Belarus, but we will have to wait for real changes in this sphere for quite a long time, because in general our tourism industry does not function very professionally, and we cannot say anything about openness for all clients including people with disabilities.
In general, it became clear that the development of inclusive tourism in Belarus is likely to be a long, thorny path. However, a team of students, teachers and representatives of the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are confident that we must believe in success and continue to move forward.