Continuing to promote awareness about accessibility, Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company, partnered with Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) to deliver Accessibility Awareness and Audit Training to a team of inspectors from the department of Tourism Licensing. The two-day workshop, held as part of the Accessible Qatar initiative, involved theoretical sessions at QTA headquarters, and inspection practice at the Mondrian Doha Hotel.
Jennifer Stirling and Issam Azzouri, Sasol’s Accessibility Consultants, led the workshop and shed light on the models of disability and the various barriers of access and how to identify them in tourism venues. Attendees reviewed the accessibility standards included in the Hotel Grading and Classification System released by QTA, and discussed how Accessible Qatar auditing techniques can be used to uphold these standards across the hospitality sector, and in exhibition and tourism events venues around the country.
Mohamed Al Ansari, Director of Tourism Licensing at QTA, commented: “We are grateful to Accessible Qatar for helping us empower our inspectors with the tools necessary to identify accessible venues. Early last year, QTA introduced a new hotel grading and classification system which directly links the number of stars a hotel has with how accessible it is. QTA also has a regulatory mandate to ensure that the development of the tourism sector is inclusive of the disabled community’s needs. This training allows us to work more closely with hotel establishments to ensure they are meeting the accessibility requirements to maintain their classification, and to uphold the high standards of hospitality Qatar is renowned for.”
Al Ansari added that in the coming weeks, QTA would be training hotel staff across Qatar on meeting the needs of guests with physical and mental disabilities, in collaboration with the Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs.
The Accessibility Auditing workshop is among a series of planned training events to be provided to other sectors in the country. This week Sasol is also conducting a training for the Accessibility Forum members of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
Commenting on the workshop, Phinda Vilakazi, President of GTL Ventures at Sasol said:
“Sasol is proud of the success that the Accessible Qatar initiative has achieved. We believe in the power of an inclusive society, and accessibility plays an important role in achieving this essential target. Through these audit workshops, Sasol is promoting the importance and value of accessibility, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Accessible Qatar is a smartphone application and website, the first of its kind in the region to provide the disabled community with instant and reliable information about the accessibility of public venues and tourist landmarks in Qatar. Combining expertly-audited data with user-submitted reviews and ratings, Accessible Qatar gives the disabled community and tourists the confidence to visit different accessible destinations. The initiative aims to encourage venues to become more accessible by making information about their level of accessibility available to the public online.
At the present time, more than 100 locations around Qatar in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors have been audited by Accessible Qatar. By sharing auditing techniques with public sector partners, Sasol aims to increase the number of audited venues covered by the Accessible Qatar app, which allows people with disabilities to identify the venues that meet their needs.
Accessible Qatar, which builds on Sasol’s ongoing Definitely Able Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, grew out of an engaging session called “Finding the Accessible Doha” during the Definitely Able Conference in March 2015.
The Accessible Qatar app is available in both English and Arabic, and can be downloaded free of charge on App Store, Google Play store, Windows Phone Store and on the website (www.AccessibleQatar.com). More information can be found on the Definitely Able social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), where users can be kept updated on the latest developments.