World Tourism Day 2016

Promoting universal accessibility 


I remember when taking the travel tourism course that I wanted to specialize in providing travel services for people with disabilities. In preparation, I took a sign language class and ended up becoming  a sign language interpreter and avid traveller. I never did make travel agent my career.

Today September 27th is World Tourism Day (another UN initiative) and this year’s slogan is “promoting universal accessibility”.

Deaf people do travel and some companies have done what I thought I would do.




While Deaf people are best to speak of their travel needs, there are a few considerations that come to mind from my experience working with this population.

  • airline safety videos shown with instruction in sign language: Air France and Saudia (Saudi Arabian airlines) already do this.
  • flashing emergency lights for fire alarms in hotel accommodation
  • visual information on public transportation ie screen displays of upcoming/current stops on the bus/subway
  • awareness on communication with Deaf people by airport security personnel ( I have seen some people show a card with a picture of an ear with a line through it, the international symbol to indicate someone can’t hear. Hopefully the staff were briefed during their training on how to communicate with Deaf people.)

Did you know…in Cairo Egypt there is a KFC run by Deaf people? Orders are made by pointing to pictures on the counter and using some degree of gestures and facial expression. Here is a YouTube video by Jehanne McCullogh.




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